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Sep 9, 2014

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus - Everything you need to know

If you were holding back to buy the best phone on the market because of the screen size, now you have no excuse. The iPhone 6 is here with a 4.7-inch diagonal display, while the iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5-inch screen. Apple describes it as "bigger than bigger" and we take it for a spin to show you the most important features.

The screen looks great. Its curved edges fit nicely with the back cover and the over-all design. Apple calls it the new Retina HD display, but it is just a new marketing name for a 1334 x 750 display with a resolution of 326 PPI. The larger one is 1920 x 1080 with a resolution of 401 PPI.

The design of the iPhone 6

The phone comes with a thickness of 6.9mm and because the screen is larger, Apple changed iOS to work differently on this device. New features like Reachability help you interact with a the screen in other ways. For example you can double touch the Home button and the entire screen shifts down closer to your thumb. In Mail or Safari you can also swipe from left to right to go forward. The larger, 5.5" iPhone Plus is 7.1mm thick. For this one you can make use of the Landscape mode and two pane apps. The design has been changed to look similar to the iPad and the iPod touch. The volume buttons are elongated. The Sleep/Wake button has been moved to the side of the device so it is going to be in reach.

What is the Retina HD display?

Retina display was HD, so what's with the new name? Nothing, just a marketing gimmick. Sure, the screen is larger, but it's not like you would notice the individual pixels on this screen or on the Super Amoled or UHD screens of other phones. As long as your eyes cannot discern individual pixels, you just have a good screen in front of you. Apple prides itself in adding some innovation to that screen. First of all, we're talking about higher contrast and dual -domain pixels for a better color and improved viewing angles. They achieve that by using a UV light to position the display's liquid crystals to lay exactly where they should and by improving the polarizer. You can now view your iPhone screen in any orientation with your sunglasses on.

With a larger display comes a new feature: Display Zoom. You can either see more, or choose to see larger targets. Not only you will increase the size of the text, but the icons on the home screen as well.

The A8 CPU

This is a second generation 64-bit architecture. While the Samsung or any other Android devices are still on a 32-bit CPU, Apple just release the second generation. This translates in better battery life, faster graphics, and overall performance. M8 motion coprocessor can now measure activity from advances sensors, including a barometer and altitude.

How is the battery?

Apple increased the battery life on its new devices. For example, the iPhone 6 can get up to 50 hours of audio, 11 hours of HD video, up to 14 hours of 3G Talk and 10 days Standby. The iPhone 6 Plus sports a 80 hours battery life for audio and 24 hours of 3G Talk. You can also keep it in standby for 16 days.

The protruding camera

This is one design line that we don't agree with. The lens of the new camera come out of the device just like like on an ugly Samsung Galaxy phone. They probably chose to do that in order to adapt a newer, better lens system and did not want to increase the thickness of the device. iSight (back facing camera) has an eight megapixel sensor, with an aperture of f/2.2. The Camera app comes with Focus Pixel, Face Detection, Exposure Control, Auto Stabilization, Optical Image Stabilization (in iPhone 6 Plus) and the Panorama mode can take photos that are up to 43MP.

The video camera can shoot 1080p HD video at 60 fps. There's continuous autofocus and cinematic video stabilization included in the package. We know Android users are going to brag about their 4K Video, but who has a 4K TV in their living room or a Retina display monitor on their desk to really make use of that?


The iPhone 6 comes with faster LTE and it also features Voice over LTE (VoLTE) which is just like VoIP but it works much better and you get clear conversations and video streaming. The phone supports 802.11ac so it is going to work much better with the new Time Capsule, for example. See below the introduction video for the new iPhone 6 models.

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus side by side

waiting for the press in the white room

Why bigger?

The new landscape mode for the home screen

the white room is prepared for the first hands-on experiences

awesome looking screen

landscape mode on iPhone 6 Plus
Images credits to apple.com
Video credits to Apple

Intel Core m, the Mobile Processor That Should Have Been Launched Two Years Ago

Barely more than a week of this month has passed, and Intel has already released some really impressive products, some of which are guaranteed to preserve its strong brand, and one that may finally allow it to beat ARM on its own turf.

It is that last one that I am going to take a look at now. Or, rather, the implications of its release, since it is the sort of windfall that Intel has been seeking for years. Potential windfall, at least. You see, Intel has finally launched a processor that could actually fight the various ARM-based chips on the mobile market evenly. The first mobile chip to bear the Core-series brand, the new processor might finally have what it takes to give Intel an actual foothold in the smartphone industry. Its immediate competitors are Samsung's Exynos line and Qualcomm's Snapdragon series, both based on the ARM architecture, with the best using Cortex A15 cores, plus one or more A7 cores for when the system is doing light loads.

The assets of the Core m processor

I won't bore you with the specifications, since there's a whole article dedicated to them. We covered the Intel chip as soon as it came out after all. Now, admittedly, the Intel Core m CPU is intended for 2 in 1 devices (laptop-tablet hybrids) and tablets, but phones aren't beyond Intel's purview anymore either. At least, not the best “superphones” anyhow. The chip is based on the 14nm  Broadwell architecture which will only reach PCs in 2015. You could say that Chipzilla accelerated the development of its next-generation architecture just so it could bring out a good mobile processor at last. Besides, even if consumer phones stick to ARM (despite x86 also supporting Android OS), specialist PDA and other devices may very well prefer the extra horsepower of Core m.

There are three versions of the processor: Core M-5Y70 (1.1 GHz dual-core CPU with a max turbo speed of 2.6 GHz), Core M-5Y10a 800 MHz (dual-core CPU with max turbo speed of 2 GHz) and Core M-5Y10 800 MHz (dual-core CPU with max turbo speed of 2 GHz).

The irony

This chip is guaranteed to increase the share of x86 based tablets at the expense of ARM. The only thing that could possibly work against it is advertising, and Intel has never had problems there. The only “sad” thing about the chip is how long it took to come to market. Intel would have probably been a major force on the mobile front already if it created a chip like this one or two years ago. And we can't exactly lay the blame completely at the feet of manufacturing technology (32 nm, then 22 nm and, now, finally 14 nm). Alas, it was only able to produce Atom units instead, which had performance but none of the graphics and efficiency of alternatives from Samsung, Qualcomm and NVIDIA. What remains to be seen is how the Core m compares to NVIDIA's Tegra K1. Intel rather blatantly avoided all mention of NVIDIA's SoC during its IFA keynote and the time since, so I'm looking forward to the showdown. Especially after Tegra K1 so thoroughly trounced Bay Trail in Chromebook tests.

Intel 14nm Core m CPU
Image credits to Intel

Is This the First Image of the Mythical Canon EOS M3?

You and me both know the original Canon EOS-M was a miserable failure in most markets around the world, with the exception of the Asian one.

That’s probably why the producing company choose to roll out the EOS-M2 only in that area. After all, it wasn’t much of a successor, it basically added Wi-Fi on top of what the EOS-M originally offered. However, the question remains, when would Canon put the failure behind, buckle up and make a comeback with a model worthy of making it on the European and US market? Well, Canon Watch posted a mysterious photograph (via DCFever) which appears to be the first image ever depicting the mythical EOS-M3. As you can see, the camera bundles a small viewfinder, flip-out LCD, but apart from that, there’s nothing different compared to the M and M2.

Photokina 2014 is not far away from us so maybe, just maybe, Canon will surprise us with something along these lines. Hopefully, the photo gear manufacturer is conscious it needs to provide a set of decent specs if it wants the product to survive on the competitive European/US market. The Chinese source mentions the camera should become available later in 2014, so if our instincts are correct, the camera will show up next week in Germany.

This might be the first of the Canon EOS M3
Image credits to Canon Watch

iPhone 6 Leaked Benchmarks, a Huge Letdown

File this under rumors, as we don’t have any confirmation on it yet, but it looks like the first benchmark results of a presumed prototype iPhone 6 unit have just leaked online.

The leak comes from the same person who leaked an iPhone 6 video, which has yet to be confirmed whether it’s legit or not. This is why we suggest our readers to take it with a big grain of salt until Apple comes forward with the official iPhone 6 announcement. The so-called iPhone 7,2, which seems to be the internal name given by Apple to its next iPhone smartphone, has been benchmarked using the Geekbench 3 application, and while the results may look decent, the hardware configuration revealed is a huge letdown. According to the image published by Gizmodo, the iPhone 6, most likely the 4.7-inch version, is equipped with 1GB of RAM and a dual-core A8 processor clocked at 1.4GHz. This is only a slight improvement from the iPhone 5s’ 1.3GHz dual-core CPU, which is why we doubt this benchmark is legit.

We should also point out that the specs sheet leaked earlier today mentions that the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will be armed with a more powerful 2GHz dual-core A8 processor. Benchmark shows iPhone 6 packs a 1.4GHz dual-core A8 processor. The 5.5-inch iPhone 6 may be equipped with the same CPU, but it will pack 2GB of RAM, and obviously, a larger display. There may be a slim chance that the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will come with a 1.4GHz dual-core A8 processor and the 5.5-inch version with the more powerful 2GHz CPU, but that would be a huge mistake for Apple. Even though the differences between the 1.3GHz and 1.4GHz dual-core A8 processors may be huge in real life, on paper, this won’t look too good, especially for those who want to switch to iPhone 6 from a smartphone powered by another operating system.

The benchmark results show that the alleged iPhone 6 is slightly more powerful than the iPhone 5s, which scores 1412 in single core and 2540 in multi-core tests versus 1633 for single core and 2920 mutli-core for the upcoming smartphone. While this is clearly an improvement from the previous iPhone model, we’re not sure that it will be enough to make the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 as popular as Apple hopes. The good news is that we'll know the truth about the iPhone 6 hardware in just a few hours. Hopefully, these benchmarks are not in line with the smartphone’s full specs sheet to be revealed later today.

Alleged iPhone 6 benchmark
Images credits to Weibo

NVIDIA Sues Samsung, Qualcomm over Patents Infringement, Seeks Galaxy Phone Shipments Block

Samsung is well known for being sued by a lot of companies. The South Korean handset maker is still making war with Apple over the design of its products, but there are other companies in the smartphone and tablet business that Samsung allegedly copied from.

Now it’s NVIDIA’s turn to file a patent lawsuit against both Samsung and Qualcomm. Unlike other lawsuits that focused on one or several devices, NVIDIA is trying to block shipments of all Samsung smartphones and tablets that are using Qualcomm’s Adreno, ARM’s Mali or Imagination’s PowerVR graphics architectures. Basically, NVIDIA seeks to block shipments of all Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets now available on the market, or soon to be released, due to the fact that the South Korean company does not seem to use MediaTek’s chipset inside its devices for whatever reason. The patent lawsuit filed by NVIDIA follows a round of negotiations with Samsung that did not reach any conclusion. Apparently, Samsung thinks it’s the suppliers’ responsibility to license these patents, which is why no progress was made during the discussions.

Even if Samsung and Qualcomm knew they were infringing NVIDIA patents, they decided to deploy their IP without licensing any of these patents. NVIDIA claims Samsung and Qualcomm infringed on seven of its patents. According to NVIDIA, the patent lawsuit was filed against Samsung and Qualcomm with both the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and the U.S. District Court, in Delaware. As mentioned earlier, NVIDIA seeks “to block shipments of Samsung Galaxy mobile phones and tablets containing Qualcomm’s Adreno, ARM’s Mali or Imagination’s PowerVR graphics architectures,” but the company is also asking the Delaware court to award them damages for the infringement of their patents.

No amount has been specified yet, but we suspect that Samsung and Qualcomm could settle for a smaller amount of money if they are willing to reach an agreement with NVIDIA in the next couple of days. “Those patents include our foundational invention, the GPU, which puts onto a single chip all the functions necessary to process graphics and light up screens; our invention of programmable shading, which allows non-experts to program sophisticated graphics. “Our invention of unified shaders, which allow every processing unit in the GPU to be used for different purposes; and our invention of multithreaded parallel processing in GPUs, which enables processing to occur concurrently on separate threads while accessing the same memory and other resources,” said David Shannon, Executive VP, NVIDIA.

NVIDIA promises to keep us in the loop with what’s happening with the patent lawsuit and whether or not its complaints will be met with a favorable decision from the court. Until then, you can check out NVIDIA's full complaint.

Image credits to NVIDIA

Apple's iPhone 6 Launch May Be the Most Embarrassing Moment of the Year

I've been very excited to see what Apple comes up with today. I even stopped playing Destiny to watch the iPhone 6 launch, but then I had a feeling this will turn out bad. Bad for me for losing my time and bad for Apple for disappointing me and other fans trying to watch the live event.

I do not own an Apple TV and I'll probably never will, but if I did, it wouldn't have helped me watch the iPhone 6 launch event. However, I do own a few Apple products, so I excitingly opened my iPad to see what Apple has prepared for us today. It took me a few refreshes to get the live keynote running, but in the end all seemed well enough. That lasted for a few seconds until I realized the whole event was streamed with the Chinese voice translation. To make things worse the live stream dropped after 10 seconds and each time I tried to make it work it would drop after several seconds again. In the end, it dropped completely and you I couldn't access the live stream address, along with hundreds of thousands others that were trying to watch Apple's iPhone 6 launch.

Ok, I can understand that sometime these things can happen even to the bigger companies such as Apple, but what happened during the event made me rethink my opinion on the Cupertino. I thought Apple is supposed to bring new technologies into the smartphone business. I also thought they should the ones that others want to copy, not the other way around. Despite the fact that Apple's live stream failed, iPhone 6 will sell millions. Even though there are many things that companies like Samsung “borrowed” from Apple, it now appears that everything it's been reversed. Saying that you invented Wi-Fi Calling and that your device support more LTE bands than any other smartphone on the market is embarrassing to say the least.

Especially that Apple comes on the market with a product that's not even on par with some devices launched earlier this year. I agree that some of the components manufactured in-house may be better than what's on the market now, but I want to wait and see some tests before making any statements. QHD displays, 4K video recording, quad-core CPU and many others, are things that Apple users will not get this in the next 12 months. Not that many would care about these, but I thought Apple is at the forefront of innovation, always striving to bring out new technologies. To me, it looks like Apple is just taking existing technologies and tries to make them better for its own customers. Sadly, the innovation stuff has been left to other brands, which frankly I'm not sure it realizes the potential.

Since a few years ago I got the feeling Apple is always one step behind competition, but this year my impression turned to certainty. The iPhone 6 is clearly one step behind other flagship smartphones on paper, which means it remains to be seen if actual performance matches in tests. I know for sure iPhone 7 will pack a QHD display. I'm definitely not impressed by Apple's iPhone 6, I'm more excited about Samsung's Galaxy Note Edge even if I'm not really a big fan of the South Korean's company. Now that is a really innovative smartphone, even if the second Edge display doesn't have too applicable uses in real life. The thing is that the Galaxy Note Edge could be the base of a series of unique phones that we now think as futuristic.

What innovations the iPhone 6 brings to the world? Unfortunately, none. Obviously, Apple will sell millions of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus units, because fans want/need to upgrade from an older iPhone and the only choices are the devices introduced today. If things turn out the same it did today next year Apple fans can rest easy, as the iPhone 7 will pack a HD display and possibly a 16-megapixel camera. I sincerely hope so.

apple.com live stream failed

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