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Operators gear up for latest iPhone

Posted by pakin On September - 11 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are likely to be launched here in mid-October, while fierce rival Samsung will unveil its new Galaxy Note 4 earlier in the month.

The release of flagship high-end smartphones will continue to intensify local competition in the big-screen, premium-smartphone market, attracting existing users of the iPhone 4, 5S and Galaxy Note 1-3.

These launches are expected to boost the high-end smartphone market in the fourth quarter.

Based on US prices, the iPhone 6 with 16 gigabytes will cost about 25,500 baht, while the highest model iPhone 6 Plus with 128 GB will be about 40,000 baht.

All new series will initially be launched in nine countries worldwide on Sept 19 excluding Thailand.

One of the biggest mobile phone retailers in MBK Center offers pre-order bookings through the grey market with a mark-up of 5,000 to 6,000 baht on top of the standard retail price.

Apple Store Thailand immediately slashed prices of the iPhone 5S with 16 GB to 19,900 baht from 24,550 baht.

It also reduced the 32 GB model to 21,900 baht from 31,950 baht, while the iPhone 5C with 8 GB is now sold at 14,900 baht.

Local mobile operators have joined the chorus, offering mobile data bundle packages for the iPhone 5S.

Advanced Info Service Plc slashed the price of the iPhone 5S by 10,000 baht.

True Corporation dropped the price by up to 9,800 baht, with the iPhone 5S costing from 16,900 to 22,100 baht, depending on the model, while the iPhone 5C was reduced to only 9,000 baht.

Total Access Communication Plc offers the iPhone 5S with 16 GB at 16,900 to 18,900 baht, while prices of the iPhone 5S with 64 GB ranges from 22,900 to 24,900 baht.

Jarit Sidhu, senior market analyst at IDC Thailand, said the launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus would enable Apple to enter the big-screen smartphone market just like Android-based smartphones.

“Android-based smartphone makers now need to come up with new, unique features since the big-screen display is no longer a new differentiation to attract users,” he said.

This would increase the share of big-screen smartphones, those with displays larger than five inches, by almost 30% this year and 40% in 2015.

In the second half of this year, high-end smartphones are expected to account for 20% of the smartphone market, up from 14% in the first half, when demand was dampened by political unrest.

This year’s overall sales of smartphones are likely to reach 14 million handsets, of which 17% will be high-end smartphones.

Mr Jarit said the launch of the Apple Watch would also shake the wearable-device market, as it blended design with function.

Sitthichoke Nopchinabutr, vice-president of strategy, IT and mobile communications at Thai Samsung Electronics Co, said the move by its rival proved Samsung was a trendsetter for big-screen displays.

The company will finalise the price of its Galaxy Note 4 and date of availability next week, in preparation for the kick-off during Thailand Mobile Expo, which will run from Oct 2-5.

iPhone 6 Plus first impressions

Posted by pakin On September - 10 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Since Samsung released its first phablet, the Galaxy Note, in 2011 big screen smartphones have become an increasingly common sight in the Android ecosystem.

Despite their popularity with Android users through, key competitor Apple, has traditionally shied away from releasing a 5in-plus iPhone, sticking to deceased founder Steve Jobs’ design philosophy that people didn’t want giant handsets.

However, this has all this changed after CEO Tim Cook took to the stage to unveil Apple’s first phablet, the 5.7in iPhone 6 Plus.

Design
The iPhone 6 Plus lives up to its name and looks like a blown up version of the iPhone 6. In our mind this is no bad thing. Featuring a rounded glass front that runs round its curved aluminium chassis’ sides, the iPhone 6 Plus’ and iPhone 6’s look great.

Additionally, despite being larger, the iPhone 6 Plus is surprisingly thin measuring in at a modest 7.1mm. This means despite being large it should still be reasonably comfortable to hold.

Display
Packing a 5.5in 1920×1080 Retina HD display when it comes to resolution the iPhone 6 Plus is still on paper lagging behind its top end Android competitors. For example the LG G3 boasts an equivalently sized but much sharper 5.5in, 1440×2560, 534ppi True HD-IPS+ (in-plane switching) LCD capacitive touchscreen.

However, considering past Retina displays’ stellar colour balance and vibrancy levels we’re going to reserve judgement on the iPhone 6 Plus’ screen and wait till our full hands on review before giving our definitive verdict.

Operating system
Like its smaller sibling the iPhone 6 Plus runs using Apple’s iOS 8 operating system. However, keen to showcase the benefits of the iPhone 6’s largest display, Apple’s loaded with a few novel features designed to make it more pleasant to use in horizontal mode.

For example, the iPhone 6 Plus’ Messaging and Email apps have a special two tier horizontal user interface and separate keyboard with special keys for actions like cut and paste.

Past its additional horizontal services iOS 8 comes loaded with a number of useful features, many of which are aimed at the enterprise. Key additions on this front include improved password security, S/MIME features and VIP threads, and support for Microsoft Exchange out of office replies.

OS X Continuity is another useful feature debuted on iOS 8. Continuity is the latest stage in Apple’s ongoing work to converge its iOS and Mac OS X operating systems and offers users a variety of synchronisation features. One of the most useful of these is the ability to Airdrop files between the iOS and Mac OS devices.

iOS 8 also adds support for third party keyboards such as Swype, the ability to add widgets to the OS Notifications Center and a QuickType word prediction feature.

As a final bonus iOS also has HealthKit and HomeKit services. HealthKit is a health focused services designed to help users track their calorie intake and exercise routines. HomeKit is an internet of things focused service designed to let users control appliances using their iPhone 6.

Processor
Like the smaller iPhone 6, the iPhone 6 Plus is powered by Apple’s new 64-bit A8 chip and reworked next generation M8 co-processor.

This is a big deal as the A8 is listed by Apple as offering 25 percent faster CPU performance and 50 percent faster graphics performance than the A7. If true this makes it 50 times more powerful than the first iPhone.

New generation M8 co-processor that can measure elevation and can tell when you’re cycling, walking, running – meaning fitness apps should perform better on it than on competing Android handsets or past iPhones. If there’s any truth to Apple’s claims then the iPhone 6 Plus should be one of the fastest on the market come its release.

NFC and Apple Pay
Near Field Communication (NFC) has been a key technology missing on past iPhones. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus fix this issue and come loaded with an NFC antenna. However, rather than just meaning users can get access to existing NFC services, like Visa’s V.me payment service, or PayPal, Apple’s created its own Apple Pay platform.

Apple Pay is interesting as it has an API developers can use to directly integrate the Apple payment option into their into websites and apps. Having already scored key partnerships with Visa, Amex and Mastercard, Apple Pay users to make and take payments.

As an added assurance to security conscious iPhone users Apple’s also loaded the iPhone 6 Plus with a Secure Element chip and that stores all the user’s payment details locally – meaning prying intelligence agencies and hackers should have a harder time getting it.

Camera
The iPhone 6 Plus is the first ever iPhone to feature optical image stabilisation technology. This combined with its new sensor with TrueTone flash, 1.5 micron pixels and f/2.2 aperture mean it should offer radically better imaging performance than past iPhones.

For example The sensor adds a number of new or improved features, including phase detection auto-focus allows it to focus twice as fast. New tone mapping, new noise reduction and a new Slo-Mo mode that can capture video at 240 fps.

Battery
The iPhone 6 Plus runs using an undisclosed battery Apple lists as offering the users 11 hours of video playback and WiFi browsing and 10 hours of LTE browsing and 3G browsing as its smaller iPhone 6 sibling. If accurate the iPhone 6 Plus’ battery life will be well above average, with most handsets still struggling to make it past the seven to eight multimedia use mark.

Storage and price
The Apple iPhone 6 Plus will be available with 16GB, 64GB and 128GB and cost £619, £699 and £789 respectively at retail pricing.

Overall
If opening impressions are anything to go by, while Apple may be slightly late to the phablet market, its opening device is fairly impressive. Featuring a reworked camera, cutting edge processor and Apple’s latest iOS 8 operating system the iPhone 6 Plus has the on paper chops to be one of 2014’s best plus-sized handsets.

Hopefully the iPhone 6S will make good on its opening promise when it arrives in the UK later this year.

Check back with V3 later for a full review of the iPhone 6 Plus.

APPLE HAS FINALLY sent out invitations to its upcoming launch event in what is undoubtedly the announcement of the iPhone 6.

It’s been a long time coming, but the invite reads nothing more than the expected date of 9 September and the rather cryptic “wish we could say more” message.

While it doesn’t tell us much, online reports have suggested there’ll be more unveiled at the event than just the next-generation iPhone, with Apple expected to make its first foray into the wearables market at the launch with the unveiling of the so-called Apple iWatch.

The iWatch will look to challenge the likes of the Samsung Gear S and LG G Watch R which were launched just this week and if speculation is anything to go by, Apple’s debut smartwatch may just do that. Most recently, Reuters claimed that the Apple iWatch will launch with a 2.5in, rectangular screen, which when compared to the 2in display on the Samsung Gear S, seems large for a wearable.

However, previous speculation from multiple sources has indicated that the iWatch will launch in two versions, one with a 1.3in display, and the other with a 1.5in offering. These rumours have also claimed that the screen, much like that on the LG G Watch R, will be rounded. Other rumours have claimed that the iWatch display will be curved.

As for the iPhone 6, there have been many conflicting rumours about the smartphone but the most prevalent suggest it will arrive in two versions. If these rumours are to be believed, Apple’s iPhone 6 will launch in 4.7in and 5.5in models.

There’s also talk that Apple will improve its Retina display screen resolution with the next-generation iPhone, with the firm reportedly set to out the even higher resolution Retina display+. This, if the latest rumours are to be believed, will weigh in with a resolution of 1704×920.

The upcoming iPhone event will take place at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts, which is on the campus of De Anza College in Cupertino. The iPhone 6 is likely to be made available a week or so after its unveiling. Last year, for example, the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C went on sale on 20 September, 10 days after they were announced.

On Thursday, widespread reports claimed that Apple is preparing the production of a larger sized iPad. Citing sources familiar with the plans who asked not to be identified because “the details aren’t public”, it was reported that Apple will soon begin production of a much larger 12.9in iPad, 3.2in bigger than its presently largest tablet model, the iPad Air. µ

We know that Apple has a big media event planned for 9 September, and everybody’s pretty sure that this shindig will be thelaunch of the new iPhone 6 models. A new leaked photo might have confirmed this fact – though there are doubts as to its authenticity.

The snap comes from Nowhereelse.fr (via the Telegraph), a site with a solid reputation when it comes to Apple leakage, and it is apparently a piece of promo artwork (a box insert) which depicts the iPhone 6, and the date Tuesday 9 September is clearly visible printed on the screen (check out the image above).

Apparently this comes from the editor’s most trusted sources in China, who provided a similar bona fide image previous to the launch of the iPhone 5S this time last year.

As you can see, the image also labels the buttons and ports of the iPhone 6, though there’s nothing unexpected here – the volume buttons are clearly a different shape to the current design, though.

However, many folks are calling fake on this one, not least MacRumors, which notes that the font used isn’t correct (Myriad Pro Regular is used, as opposed to Myriad Pro Light). And the site also observes that the card is unlikely to depict the launch date on the screen (the iPhone 5S didn’t; rather, the date referred to the launch of the then-current version of iOS).

Related: Apple iPhone 6 suppliers scramble for screens before smartphone release

And of course, this would be an easy enough image to fake. Nowhereelse.fr is certainly insistent on the source being reliable, though; let us know your opinions below. At any rate, we can be almost certain that 9 September will be the launch date, one way or another.

This isn’t the only misstep we’ve seen this week on the iPhone 6 front, as yesterday we reported on an alleged press shot of Apple’s handset which was actually concept art.

One leak we hope is incorrect is the protruding rear camera lens, whereby the lens apparently isn’t flush to the iPhone body, and sticks out around 0.7mm, which we imagine will rather mar the sleekness of the device.

For a full roundup of all the latest rumours and updates on the iPhone 6, check out our rolling live coverage.

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