Nearly 40% of iPhone owners are still using 4-inch devices and smaller

Feb 05, 2016 - 2:37 PM - by sparkyscott21

New smartphone data from Mixpanel reveals that Apple’s older iPhone models are more popular than many would have otherwise assumed. As of this week, Mixpanel’s data found that approximately 38% of iPhone users are using iPhone models that predate the iPhone 6.

Mixpanel’s data effectively supports Tim Cook’s recent remarks indicating that 60% of iPhone owners who owned devices before the larger-screened iPhone 6 was launched in September of 2014 still haven’t upgraded to either the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6s. That being the case, it appears that Apple has a huge base of installed users arguably on the cusp of upgrading.

According to information provided to us by Mixpanel, the most recent data surrounding iPhone usage across models shows that Apple’s lineup of 4-inch iPhone models (5s, 5c, 5) accounts for 32.54% of active iPhones while 3.5-inch iPhone models (4s, 4, and older models) account for 5.76% of active iPhones.

The data set above calls into question the widely assumed notion that most smartphone users prefer larger displays. Personally, I know of a few people who have held off on upgrading to the iPhone 6 or later because they simply find the form factor of the iPhone 5s and previous models more accommodating.

Apple of course plans to address the lack of a more advanced 4-inch iPhone in its lineup this March when it will reportedly introduce the iPhone 5se. Rumored to be similar in appearance to the iPhone 5s, the iPhone 5se will finally offer users next-gen technology in a smaller form factor. Specifically, we’ve heard that the device will come with the same A8 processor used on the iPhone 6 along with an NFC chip for Apple Pay support. Notably, rumor has it that the iPhone 5se will not support 3D Touch nor will it come with a more advanced camera than what’s currently found in the iPhone 5s.


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Apple CEO hints at more cross-platform services, says iPad revenue will rebound

Feb 05, 2016 - 2:35 PM - by sparkyscott21

Speaking at a recent internal "town hall" event, Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted that services beyond Apple Music might soon make the leap to additional platforms, like Android.

The Apple Music Android app is currently testing the prospect of growing services through new platforms, 9to5Mac reported, citing sources who heard Cook at the gathering. One of the main goals of the app was initially to avoid losing subscribers to Beats Music, which Apple Music is based on. Apple acquired Beats for $3 billion in 2014, and began transitioning customers shortly after Apple Music was launched in June 2015.

Android support also maximizes potential listenership, in light of the platform being more widespread than iOS. Apple could conceivably bring iTunes music, book, and/or video sales to Android, along with its rumored streaming TV offering.

Cook separately commented on the decline of the iPad, insisting that the product should return to revenue growth by the end of 2016. Sales have been on the decline for several quarters, driven by factors like the growing popularity of "phablets" like the iPhone 6s Plus, and slower upgrade cycles when compared with smartphones.

A third-generation iPad Air is expected to debut this spring, which could help reinvigorate sales with iPad Pro-like features including a Smart Connector and stereo speakers.

Cook addressed a number of other topics as well, noting that the first workers should be moving into Campus 2 by the end of January 2017. Apple employees are now also eligible for up to four weeks of paid leave if they need to take care of sick relatives, and the company's improved maternity and paternity benefits should be available in most countries outside the U.S.

COO Jeff Williams added that the company will soon announce that all of the smelted metals Apple uses are either conflict-free, or from partners presently being validated for conflict-free status.


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Apple again rumored to bid on NFL streaming partnership

Feb 05, 2016 - 2:33 PM - by sparkyscott21

Apple, Google, Amazon and Verizon might soon be locked in a bidding war for rights to stream NFL's "Thursday Night Football," as a report on Thursday says each company is seeking favor as the league's Internet content partner.

When the NFL announced two-year TV broadcast deals with CBS and NBC for the Thursday night games, it also revealed "active discussions with prospective digital partners" for those same matches. According to sources familiar with the matter, Apple is one of the companies looking to bring NFL games to its streaming service, Variety reports.

Details of the potential deal are unknown, though Apple, Google, Amazon and Verizon's Go90 service are expected to put in bids. Pricing is likewise a mystery, though broadcasters pay hefty sums to air spotlight NFL matchups like "Monday Night Football" and weekend contests. There is a possibility that digital rights will be sold to multiple providers in an arrangement similar to the CBS and NBC deal.

At this point it seems like the NFL's initiative is in its early stages. The report notes the league is investigating a number of different distribution models, including rights to games played internationally, a feature slowly gaining in popularity.

Today's report is not the first to connect Apple to a "Thursday Night Football" partnership. Rumors in December claimed the company was in the running for a non-exclusive deal alongside Google and Yahoo.

More recently, Apple and Google were said to be in talks to buy streaming rights to three NFL matchups set to take place in London next season. It is not clear if those talks are connected to a "Thursday Night Football" bid.


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Apple integrates Fox Now, FX Now and Nat Geo TV into Apple TV universal search

Feb 05, 2016 - 2:31 PM - by sparkyscott21

After integrating PBS and PBS Kids into tvOS universal search last month, Apple on Thursday expanded the deep linking feature to include content sources Fox Now, FX Now and Nat Geo TV.

With the new search integration in place, Siri queries for shows like "Bob's Burgers" and "American Horror Story" surface viewing options from the Fox Now, FX Now and Nat Geo apps alongside the usual iTunes, Netflix and Hulu offerings.

A report from MacRumors notes Nat Geo TV is also included, but it seems only select shows are provisioned at this time. For example content pages for "Digggers" and "Dirty Rotten Survival" only include links to iTunes and Hulu.

The change comes one month after what appears to be Apple's opening of the tvOS universal search API. One of the fourth-generation Apple TV's tentpole features, universal search ties in with Siri to let users find specific shows from multiple providers. For example, searching for "Bob's Burgers" returns a dedicated show page with links to iTunes, Netflix, Hulu and Fox Now.

Universal search was limited to iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, Showtime and HBO at launch, but later expanded to include PBS and PBS Kids. The results appear even if the providers' tvOS apps are not installed.

Apple initially promised make the universal search API available to third-party developers last October, a month before the fourth-gen Apple TV shipped. Progress has been slow, but companies are apparently starting to graft support onto their respective content databases.

Update: Nat Geo TV support noted.


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Apple to allow broken screens on trade-in iPhones, offer optional screen protector

Feb 05, 2016 - 2:29 PM - by sparkyscott21

Apple Stores will soon reportedly adopt two new measures related to the problem of cracked iPhone screens, including allowing some broken iPhones into its Reuse and Recycle trade-in program, and offering installation of purchased screen protectors.

Beginning this week, Apple Stores should be able to give credit for iPhone 5s and iPhone 6/6 Plus models with damaged screens, or even broken buttons and cameras, sources told 9to5Mac. Although there are limitations on the amount of acceptable damage, Apple is said to think this will encourage more people to buy a new iPhone instead of opting for a screen repair.

Apple is allegedly offering $50 for an iPhone 5s, but $200 for an iPhone 6, and $250 for a 6 Plus.

Plastic screen protector installation is claimed to be launching at some stores on Thursday, made possible by a partnership with at least one protector maker — Belkin — on distributing dedicated machines. If the process fails, Apple will offer a free protector replacement and try again.

Apple Stores would previously refuse to install such protectors, since doing so manually carries a greater risk of failure. By hand it's easier to install a protector at a crooked angle, or catch air bubbles or debris under the surface.


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Apple acknowledges 'Error 53' glitch, says it's part of Touch ID security

Feb 05, 2016 - 2:28 PM - by sparkyscott21

Apple on Friday publicly acknowledged an unusual "Error 53" message, triggered by updating an iPhone 6 to iOS 9 or later after having the phone's Touch ID sensor fixed by an unofficial technician.

"We protect fingerprint data using a Secure Enclave, which is uniquely paired to the Touch ID sensor," a spokeswoman explained to The Guardian. "When [an] iPhone is serviced by an authorised Apple service provider or Apple retail store for changes that affect the Touch ID sensor, the pairing is re-validated."

With an unofficial repair, the representative warned, that pairing can go unvalidated and lead to Error 53 once iOS is updated, or even restored. People running into the glitch should contact Apple support, the spokeswoman suggested.

The problem renders an iPhone unusable however, and affected owners will likely have no choice but to buy a new phone, since an unofficial repair violates Apple's warranty terms.

The Guardian observed that many regions lack Apple Stores, which can sometimes make it hard to find a place to get authorized repairs done in a timely manner.

When Apple launched Touch ID it went to great lengths to assure people that the associated data couldn't be leaked online, or even captured by installed apps. The need to re-validate appears to be a defense against thieves (or other parties) extracting fingerprint data via hardware modifications.


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