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Apple-mania
September 12, 2018

Apple is expected to introduce a new iPhone model at its Cupertino headquarters on Wednesday and unveil two updated iPhone models, a refreshed iPhone X and an upgraded entry-level equivalent of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. The new phone is tipped to be larger, with a 6.5-inch OLED screen (a step up from current LCD screens), and a heftier price tag. Apple may also introduce a fourth iteration of the Apple Watch, a new iPad, and a few surprise products. The event will begin at 10 a.m. on the West Coast and 1 p.m. EDT, and you can stream it live from Apple's website.

The predicted starting price for the new iPhone is $1,049, with the iPhone X $100 cheaper and the entry-level phone starting at $749. Apple and other phone makers have been offering more expensive phones to meet consumer demand and wring more profit out of each device amid slowing sales. Globally, smartphone sales grew an anemic 2 percent from April to June, according to Gartner, and in that period Apple dropped to No. 3 in global sales, after leader Samsung and China's Huawei. At the same time, the average sale price for each iPhone was $724, a 20 percent jump from a year earlier.

If you want to save some money on your new iPhone, Brian X. Chen at The New York Times has some advice on trading in your current model, selling it for cash, and sprucing up the one you already have so you don't need to shell out $1,000. Peter Weber

September 20, 2017

The first reviews of the new Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE are in, and people are ... less than dazzled. Apple announced the latest model of its wearable gadget earlier this month in a demonstration that involved phoning a person on a paddle board and testimonies from people whose lives have been saved by the heart rate-detecting technology. But when the $399 watch, which comes out on Friday, was put to use by real-world reviewers, many shared common complaints, particularly when it came to the built-in cellular capabilities actually working.

"On more than one occasion, I detached myself from the phone, traveled blocks away from my home or office, and watched the Watch struggle to connect to LTE," wrote Lauren Goode for The Verge. "It would appear to pick up a single bar of some random Wi-Fi signal, and hang on that, rather than switching to LTE."

CNET's Scott Stein shared Goode's frustrations. "If you're pushing the unique features of the Series 3 with cellular, you're going to wipe out your battery quickly," he wrote. "I made a half-hour call to my mom as I walked into town a half mile away to get an iced coffee. A walk there, a walk back, checking email, and listening to music (and using GPS with heart rate for the walks), I ended up at 50 percent battery by 3 p.m. Sure, I was using everything. But isn't that the point?"

"Apple's latest has all the ingredients of the future we were promised," wrote Joanna Stern for The Wall Street Journal, although she added: "Except, after I spent a week testing these new models … the future feels even further away. You're lucky if the battery allows you to roam on cellular for longer than half a day — especially if you're making calls. And only a limited number of third-party apps work without the phone close by. (No Instagram, Twitter, Uber.)"

Not everyone was disappointed. BuzzFeed News' Nicole Nguyen was a fan, although she admitted "the bar is low." Still, "the Apple Watch has gone from being a glorified pager to a decent fitness watch to, now, what a smartwatch is supposed to be: a phone on your wrist."

"I did manage to make one phone call from a surfboard," added Goode. "That was kind of wild." Jeva Lange

September 9, 2015

During its splashy tech announcement Wednesday, Apple revealed the newest iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, which offer a "3D Touch" technology that, as The New York Times' Brian X. Chen explains it, allows you to "press down on the screen and it triggers different functions on different apps."

So on the photo app, for example, pressing your thumb down allows you to zoom in. Pressing and holding down on a message allows users to see a preview of the message, and hitting the 3D touch on Instagram makes it easy to "quickly hit a menu button such as 'new post,'" The New York Times reports.

The latest iPhone is also more durable — the strength of its outer shell is credited to its aluminum alloy makeup — and has new chip that's 70 percent faster than the one in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus also come equipped with a better camera, 4K video technology, and Live Photos, a tool that essentially allows users to make animated GIFs on their phones. The phones start at $199 with a two-year contract.

Apple also unveiled the iPad Pro, which features a bigger screen, and a revamped Apple TV, which offers a remote control with a touch glass surface and voice commands. Becca Stanek

June 29, 2015

Move over, Taylor Swift and 1989: Apple Music reportedly also has exclusive streaming rights to another, slightly older album. Dr. Dre's The Chronic, a 1992 release many consider to be among the top hip-hop albums of all time, should be available when Apple launches its new service Tuesday, Rolling Stone reports, citing a source close to the project.

The Chronic has never been available digitally before, not even as part of the Dre-founded Beats Electronics deal with Apple in 2014. He has had digital rights to his solo debut following a 2011 legal battle with Death Row Records, his former record label. Julie Kliegman

June 8, 2015

Apple officially announced its own streaming service, Apple Music, Monday at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference. The announcement comes one year after the company acquired nascent streaming service Beats Music from Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre.

In addition to being able to instantly stream songs from the iTunes Store, Apple Music subscribers will have access to curated playlists and a 24/7 global radio station called Beats 1, which will be anchored by former BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe. Apple Music also has a social element in "Connect," which allows fans to "Like" and comment on posts from artists.

Apple Music will launch in 100 countries on June 30, and will be available for free for users' first three months. After that, the service will cost $9.99 a month, or $14.99 a month for families of up to six people. Meghan DeMaria

June 7, 2015

Sony Music CEO Doug Morris confirmed Apple is set to launch a new music streaming service Monday, VentureBeat reports.

"It’s happening tomorrow," he said in an onstage interview Sunday at the Midem Music Industry Festival in Cannes, France.

The fact that Apple plans to unveil a Spotify competitor at its World Wide Developers Conference is no surprise. The Wall Street Journal first reported the possibility. Julie Kliegman

April 8, 2015

The Apple Watch may not officially go on sale until Friday, but the reviews are in, and the results are a mixed bag.

At The New York Times, Farhad Manjoo writes that it took a day to master "the device's initially complex user interface," but by the fourth day, he found the watch quite enjoyable, describing it as "a natural extension of my body." Manjoo writes that the Apple Watch "works like a first-generation device" and is far from perfect, but it's still a powerful and useful tool.

Bloomberg and The Verge, meanwhile, were more critical of the Apple Watch. Joshua Topolsky at Bloomberg writes that the watch's push notifications are "a little maddening at first," and he eventually turned off all push notifications, "which seems to defeat the purpose of the watch in the first place." Nilay Patel at The Verge takes issue with the watch's software, which he candidly describes as "kind of slow."

"Sometimes pulling location information and data from your iPhone over Bluetooth and WiFi takes a long time," Patel writes at The Verge. "Sometimes apps take forever to load, and sometimes third-party apps never really load at all."

That's hardly a ringing endorsement for a device that will cost you upwards of $350 — but let's be honest, plenty of people are still going to buy one anyway. Meghan DeMaria

March 9, 2015

Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled all the details about the long awaited Apple Watch today, the first completely new device the company has released since the death of Steve Jobs.

Touted as "the most advanced timepiece" ever created, the watch face is customizable with the date, your upcoming meetings, or even something silly, like a dancing Mickey Mouse. The watch also includes a speaker and microphone, so you can answer calls directly from your watch. And in addition to sending and receiving text messages, the watch offers digital touch features, including watch-to-watch doodle and heartbeat sharing. Tired of taking out your wallet to make purchases? Apple Watch is also integrated with Apple Pay, which is now supported by 2,500 banks and nearly 700,000 retailers. And of course, the Apple Watch can display notifications from your favorite news sources and sports games, and provides voice interaction with Siri.

In terms of health tracking, the watch features a pedometer and a heart monitor, in what is clearly a bid to make fitness wearables like FitBit obsolete.

The Apple Watch will be available on April 24, and pre-orders will being on April 10. Price points for the Apple Watch Sport start at $349, while the mid-tier Apple Watch starts at $549. The high-end Apple Watch Edition, which features 18-carat solid gold, will be priced from a whopping $10,000.

Apple also used the event to announce its new MacBook, which is its thinnest ever and features an energy-efficient display. Meghan DeMaria

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