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It’s a good day for Sprint customers rocking one of Apple’s iPhone smartphones as the Now Network has announced that those owning Apple's smartphones will now get free Wi-Fi calling. The third largest carrier in the United States raised the curtain on a new feature that will be rolled out in an update to the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5s, and iPhone 5c during the next week. Read More »

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The Apple Watch is launching for sale with retailers soon, and the reviews are coming in for Apple's first ever wearable. Big things are expected of the device, which should become the first smartwatch breakout success and will shift millions of units. However, according to early reviews, the Apple Watch falls into the same problems of other smartwatches, you simply do not need this product like you do a smartphone or a tablet.

The consensus is that the Apple Watch is a good products, but it is so reliant on the iPhone that it is hard to see it as a standalone item.

Bloomberg summed this up nicely, suggesting that the Apple Watch is merely an extension of the company's flagship handset.

Yes, all these new functions, notifications, and tapping do make the Apple Watch very distracting. In some ways, it can be more distracting than your iPhone, and checking it can feel more offensive to people around you than pulling out your phone. The watch wants and needs you now, as its insistent taps make painfully clear. And to see what the Apple Watch wants and needs, you must physically move it into view. If while you're talking to someone, you check your regular watch, it can feel as if you're sending a not-so-subtle "let?s wrap this up" message. With the Apple Watch, factoring in the animated wrist-whip and the length of some of the notifications you receive, it's downright rude.

Re/Code points out that this reliance on the iPhone will mean that the Apple Watch will no appeal to everyone, even if they are rocking the smartphone.

From a technology standpoint, it is an extension of the iPhone. And just like the smartphone, it starts to change your habits over time.

It's swiping through pictures of family on your wrist, seeing your heart rate spike when you're watching an exciting game, and getting a glimpse of a message when you're rushing between classes or meetings. It's trying really, really hard not to look at your wrist when you're in the middle of a meeting. In our new world of too-many-devices, it somehow becomes the second thing you reach for when you roll out of bed

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The Verge followed the general trend, calling the Apple Watch the best smartwatch on the market, but used the review to point out that the wrist wearable is still nascent and in fact it is hard to see the real purpose of any smartwatch.

It is one of the most ambitious products I've ever seen; it wants to do and change so much about how we interact with technology. But that ambition robs it of focus: it can do tiny bits of everything, instead of a few things extraordinarily well. For all of its technological marvel, the Apple Watch is still a smartwatch, and it's not clear that anyone's yet figured out what smartwatches are actually for.

If you are willing to go along on that journey, then you'll enjoy the Apple Watch. It is a bauble, after all, and baubles delight simply by their presence. Apple will update the software, and developers will make apps, and Google and Samsung and Microsoft will release competitors, and the people who love technology will have something to buy and argue about, talismans that display tribal affiliations.

The New York Time also praised the product while saying the device has a steep learning curve, something that is not like Apple.

Unlike previous breakthrough Apple products, the Watch's software requires a learning curve that may deter some people. There's a good chance it will not work perfectly for most consumers right out of the box, because it is best after you fiddle with various software settings to personalize use. Indeed, to a degree unusual for a new Apple device, the Watch is not suited for tech novices. It is designed for people who are inundated with notifications coming in through their phones, and for those who care to think about, and want to try to manage, the way the digital world intrudes on their lives.

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There have been growing rumors over the last week that Apple will launch three iPhone mobiles this year, an iPhone 7 (possibly iPhone 6s), iPhone 7 Plus, and a new small 4-inch handset. Unlike most iPhone rumors, this one seems a little more credible considering the iPhone 4c is now a couple of years old and is need of a refresh.

Cupertino won a lot of new customers by bumping its screen size to 4.7-inch for the iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch for the iPhone 6 Plus. It was Apple catching up to the times, and in doing so the company broke all sales records over the last six months. However, Apple is not willing to abandon the old 4-inch form factor entirely and it seems the iPhone 6c will come with a 4-inch screen, the same size as the iPhone 5/5s and iPhone 5c.

Like the iPhone 5c, the next version will come with a colorful plastic shell instead of a metal chassis like the more premium models. It will however get a full list of features such as NFC connectivity, TouchID fingerprint sensor, while the hardware will likely come from the iPhone 5s, making the 5c a solid mid-range handset.

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While Apple uses a relatively small 8 megapixel camera on its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but the shooter is among the best smartphone snappers on the market. The company takes the photography side of its handset seriously and is taking things a step further with a new patent. Apple applied for and was awarded a patent for a new type of mobile camera technology that would add a zoom lens to the module.

Of course, getting a true zoom lens into the small chassis of a smartphone is not exactly easy, but Cupertino has found a solution. Apple’s engineers envision an L-shaped camera module where the sensor will face on a non-direct angle. The light will now enter into a triangular pyramid glass and beam light back down the L shaped module and into the zoom lens.

Apple is also working hard on optical image stabilization (OIS), while will now be aided by the module itself. The L shaped module will feature a folding mirror that will float and be able to move around inside the device to absorb shakes and bumps.
Of course, because Apple has patented this tech it does not mean we will necessarily see it ever, although this is the kind of tech that could easily go into production. Don’t expect to see it on this year’s Apple smartphones though.

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Apple Q3 2014 earnings
Some people think Apple has stopped innovating in recent times, while others point to things like 64-bit processing and fingerprint technology as proof that Cupertino is still a trailblazer. However, huge sweeping changes have not been forthcoming, but could Apple be exploring making a defining contribution in the nascent augmented reality market? Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says yes. Read More »

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Apple has long been reported to be serious about getting into the TV business. This goes beyond the company’s Apple TV streaming box and will eventually lead to a full blown TV set from Cupertino. While that oft reported product is still firmly in the rumor bin, Apple has increased its TV aspirations today with its own TV streaming service.

Featuring an interface that looks a lot like iOS, Apple’s TV streaming service will be launched in the summer says the Wall Street Journal, usually a solid source. At first the service will be limited to just 25 channel, but there will be some industry heavyweights on board from the start, including ABC, CBS, ESPN, and FOX. NBC will be absent as Comcast and Apple have yet to reach an agreement.

The cable TV box will probably be unveiled during Apple’s WWDC developer conference and will begin broadcasting during September. That is when Apple unveils new iPhones, so expect the service to be running on the iPhone 7 and any of its stablemates. All modern iOS devices will run the service, including iPhones, iPads, Macs, and of course Apple TV.
Apparently the price of streaming your favourite cable channels will be $30 per month (though it could be as much as $40), which is considerably lower than the average cable bill of just under $100. However, Apple will have to pad out its channel line up to be seen as a true competitor to cable providers.

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Expectations for the Apple Watch have gone from modest to hugely optimistic, but one consensus seems to hold true, the device will sell well. In fact, no matter which research company you source, they all think the Apple Watch will become a defining wearable and the most successful so far too. Strategy Analytics has now added its own predictions and says that the Apple Watch will shift 15 million units through 2015.

“Apple will quickly become the world’s number one smartwatch vendor with 55% global market share this year.”

Considering some analysts are predicting sales of 30 million or more, Strategy Analytics is taking the conservative route, but even so 15 million would still be a huge number considering the overall wearable market. Indeed, most forecasters think the consumer base is so enamoured with Apple that it will flock to the Apple Watch even though it is hardly the best looking smartwatch on the market.

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It is a tech myth that Google Maps is the only robust maps software out there, but yet many general users believe that myth. Of course, Mountain View’s service is probably the most complete service and dominates the market, but Nokia’s HERE Maps suite has been providing a compelling alternative for some time. Read More »

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