iOS 9, watchOS 2, and OS X 10.11 El Capitan brought refinements to Apple's operating systems, and the fourth-generation Apple TV came with a brand new operating system, tvOS. 2015 saw a huge number of new products and software updates, and 2016 promises to be just as exciting.
A second-generation Apple Watch is in the works and could launch in early 2016, while new flagship iPhones, the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, are coming in late 2016. Those who love smaller devices will be excited to hear a 4-inch iPhone 6c may be coming early in 2016, and Apple's Mac lineup is expected to gain Skylake chip updates.
New software, including iOS 10, OS X 10.12, watchOS 3, and an upgraded version of tvOS are all expected in 2016, and Apple will undoubtedly work on improving services like HomeKit, Apple Pay, and Apple Music.
As we did for 2014 and 2015, we've highlighted Apple's prospective 2016 product plans, outlining what we might see from Apple over the course of the next 12 months based on current rumors, past releases, and logical upgrade choices.
Tuesday November 17, 2015 8:00 am PST by Juli Clover
In its latest display shoot-out, DisplayMate Technologies compared the displays of Apple's current iPad lineup: the 2015 iPad mini 4, the 2015 iPad Pro, and the 2014 iPad Air 2 to see how the three tablets measure up against each other. The iPad mini 4 came out on top in most of DisplayMate's tests, which used a variety of calibrated lab measurements and image/photo viewing tests to compare display quality.
DisplayMate called the iPad mini "unquestionably the best and most accurate LCD tablet display we've ever tested," giving it higher marks than the 2732 x 2048 resolution iPad Pro. The iPad Pro also scored well, earning all "very good" to "excellent" marks on tests, and while the iPad Air 2 did well enough to rank as a top tier display, its performance was somewhat behind the iPad mini 4 and the iPad Pro, unsurprising as it was last updated in the fall of 2014 while the mini and the Pro were both released in the fall of 2015.
All three tablets use the same IPS LCDs, but the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Pro have photo aligned LCDs with higher contrast ratios while the iPad mini 4 uses standard mechanical alignment. The iPad Pro also uses a metal oxide TFT backplane for better light throughput and power efficiency, a must for such a large and power hungry display.
Each of the iPads has a similar max brightness, measuring in at 415 cd/m2 (nits) for the iPad Air 2, 424 nits for the iPad Pro, and 450 nits for the iPad mini 4. On maximum contrast ratio, the difference between peak white brightness and the darkest black, all of the iPads had high True Contrast Ratios, but the iPad Pro won at this test. The iPad mini 4 had a True Contrast Ratio of 967, while the iPad Air 2 ranked at 1,064 and the iPad Pro measured in at 1,631, the highest DisplayMate has measured for an LCD tablet display.
On color gamut, the iPad mini had the most accurate score at 101 percent (100 percent is best). The iPad Air 2 had a 105 percent color gamut, while the iPad Pro had a 107 percent color gamut, with the larger two tablets displaying oversaturated blues. On color accuracy, the iPad mini also won, but the iPad Pro was a relatively close second. The iPad Air 2 earned much lower Absolute Color Accuracy marks.
The iPad mini 4 has a very impressive Absolute Color Accuracy with Average/Maximum Color Errors of 1.9 and 4.2 JNCD - tied for first place in Absolute Color Accuracy with the Microsoft Surface Pro 4. The iPad Pro is somewhat less accurate, but still (just barely) Very Good, with Average/Maximum Color Errors of 2.6 and 6.6 JNCD. The iPad Air 2 has noticeably lower Absolute Color Accuracy with Average/Maximum Color Errors of 3.9 and 8.8 JNCD, which are visually noticeable and could be unacceptable for some color critical applications (like medical imaging, high-end digital photography, product sales demonstrations, and advertising proofs, for example).
When it comes to screen reflectance, DisplayMate called all three iPads "unrivaled record holders" for performance in ambient light. The iPad mini had a 2.0 percent Reflectance, while the iPad Air 2 had 2.5 percent and the iPad Pro had 2.6 percent. A test measuring contrast in high ambient light saw the iPad mini perform best, with a Contrast Rating for High Ambient Light of 225. Comparatively, the iPad Air 2 scored 166 and the iPad Pro scored 163.
Due to the inclusion of the metal oxide backplane in the iPad Pro, it earned the award for most power efficient. The backplane increases light throughput and the iPad Pro's display uses a lower refresh rate when there are static images on the screen.
While the iPad mini 4 is the best iPad display based on DisplayMate's test, the site calls all of the iPads in Apple's current lineup "unrivaled" when it comes to screen Reflectance, giving them an edge over competing tablets. Due to their low Reflectance, the iPads have "by far" the highest image Contrast in ambient light and the highest Contrast Rating for High Ambient Light of all current tablets.
The full results of the display shoot-out, available from DisplayMate, are well worth checking out for those interested in getting an in-depth look at how the displays of the iPad mini 4, iPad Pro, and iPad Air 2 compare.
Friday October 30, 2015 3:30 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Beginning on November 1, Walmart will begin offering Apple's 16GB Wi-Fi only iPad mini 2 at a significant discount, selling it for $199 instead of $268. $199 is a solid deal and one of the lowest prices we've seen on the iPad mini 2, which was the first of Apple's iPad mini line to ship with a Retina display.
Compared to the current-generation iPad mini 4, the iPad mini 2 has a slower processor, less RAM, and it lacks Touch ID, but it's still a very capable device with an A7 processor, a 5-megapixel rear camera, and 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera. It's also thicker and heavier than the newest iPad mini.
We'll likely see similar deals on the iPad mini 2 during the month of November due to Black Friday, but for now, Walmart's discount is one of the best deals to be had. Walmart will be selling the 16GB iPad mini 2 for $199 for approximately 90 days, the standard amount of time Walmart price rollbacks generally last.
Wednesday October 28, 2015 8:00 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
T-Mobile has announced that the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 are now available through its JUMP! On Demand upgrade program, enabling qualified customers to purchase either tablet on an 18-month lease and upgrade to a newer tablet up to three times per year. The program breaks down the price of each iPad into equal monthly payments starting at $22/month with $0 due upfront.
iPad Air 2
16GB: $26/month, $0 due upfront
64GB: $25/month, $99.99 due upfront
128GB: $24/month, $199.99 due upfront
iPad mini 4
16GB: $22/month, $0 due upfront
64GB: $21/month, $99.99 due upfront
128GB: $19/month, $199.99 due upfront
The limited time offer is available by calling T-Mobile at 1-877-500-6055 or visiting a participating T-Mobile store in the U.S. At the end of the 18-month lease, the iPad must be returned in working order, or the customer can pay off the remaining balance to keep it. If a customer cancels wireless service during a lease, remaining payments on the iPad become due. See T-Mobile's tablet plans.
Monday September 21, 2015 7:00 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
DisplayMate has tested the iPad mini 4 display and found that its colors and color accuracy are on par with the iPad Air 2, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, with an improved 101% color gamut. All previous iPad mini models had 62% color gamut with poorer color saturation, according to the company's analysis.
iPad mini 4 also has a record-low 2% screen reflectance, compared to 6.5% reflectance for the iPad mini 3 and and 9% reflectance for the original iPad mini. This gives the iPad mini 4 a contrasting rating in high ambient light of 225, which in layman's terms means the tablet has improved readability in real-world viewing conditions.
DisplayMate Technologies President Ray Soneira:
But in terms of real-world viewing conditions, the record low 2.0% screen Reflectance actually makes a bigger visual difference for the image colors and image contrast that you actually see because ambient light washes out and degrades the displayed images and reduces screen readability - so [the iPad mini 4's] record low Reflectance actually makes a bigger difference!
DisplayMate says the iPad mini 4 has between 2.5x and 3.5x higher contrast in ambient light than the iPad mini 3 and most other tablets, which mainly fall in the range of 5.0% to 6.5% screen reflectance. iPad Air 2 was the previous record holder with 2.5% screen reflectance, but the iPad mini 4 was 36% better per this test.
DisplayMate will provide in-depth analysis of the iPad mini 4 display when the iPad Pro launches in November.
Thursday September 17, 2015 7:34 pm PDT by Husain Sumra
At its "Hey Siri" event, Apple announced an updated iPad mini 4 but largely glossed over any details, focusing its time on the iPhones 6s and 6s Plus, the new Apple TV and the iPad Pro. Today, iFixit completed its teardown for the device, confirming that it comes with a smaller battery than the previous iPad mini as well as 2 GB of RAM.
While iFixit's teardown physically confirms that the iPad mini 4 has 2 GB of RAM, Ars Technica ran a GeekBench 3 test a couple days ago on the device, confirming that it runs a 1.5 GHz Apple A8 with 2 GB of RAM. This makes the iPad mini 4 faster than the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which run a 1.4 GHz A8, and both the iPad mini 2 and 3, which run 1.3 GHz A7's.
iFixit's teardown also confirmed that the device comes with a smaller, thinner single-cell battery. The iPad mini 4's battery is 5,124 mAh while the iPad mini 3's battery is 6,471 mAh. While the new battery is smaller, Apple claims the new iPad mini 4 retains the same battery life as the iPad mini 3.
Finally, Apple has also refined, slimmed down and moved around many of the new iPad mini 4's parts due to shrinking the device's thickness from 7.5 mm (iPad mini 3) to 6.1 mm (iPad mini 4). For instance, the FaceTime camera has slimmed down, the battery has shrunk, the LCD and front panel glass are fused together and antennas have been moved both to the top and bottom of the device. iFixit's full teardown provides additional details on all the nips and tucks in the device.
Tuesday September 15, 2015 9:33 am PDT by Eric Slivka
Apple last week introduced the iPad mini 4, advertising the device as essentially a scaled down version of the iPad Air 2, although the device uses a A8 chip rather than the A8X found in the iPad Air 2. Ars Technica has now taken an early look at the iPad mini 4, finding that the A8 runs at 1.5 GHz, slightly faster than the 1.4 GHz A8 used in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Like the iPad Air 2, the iPad mini 4 also carries 2 GB of RAM.
Having a whole extra CPU core makes the 1.5GHz A8X in the iPad Air 2 about 50% faster than the Mini 4, but we're still looking at a 20-or-so percent improvement over the old Mini 2 and Mini 3. That extra RAM will be good for more than just Split View multitasking, too—2GB iDevices need to eject things from memory less often, cutting down on the amount of tab reloading that Safari does and generally reducing wait times when switching between different tabs and apps.
With the iPad mini 4 using a slower chip than the iPad Air 2 while still driving the same display resolution and similar other internals, performance won't be quite as good on the smaller tablet, as the smaller body likely has some heat-related impacts that drove Apple to include the less-powerful chip. Still, users should see substantial performance upgrades over earlier iPad mini models, as well as support for all of the latest iOS 9 features like Split View multitasking.
MacRumors provided coverage of the September 2015 event with a live blog and articles, in addition to sending out updates through our real-time Twitter account MacRumorsLive. For those that missed out on the action, or need a refresher, this roundup provides a closer look at today's announcements.
iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus
- Design: iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus look the same as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, with 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screen sizes respectively, although Apple did make the switch to stronger ion-strengthened glass and slightly thicker Series 7000 aluminum. A new Rose Gold color option was introduced to the iPhone 6s lineup alongside existing Space Gray, Silver and Gold models.
- 3D Touch: 3D Touch builds upon both Apple's patented Multi-Touch and pressure-sensitive Force Touch technologies, enabling users to make "peek and pop" gestures on the screen with their fingers to access actionable shortcuts or preview content, such as text messages, flight information, calendar appointments and more.
- A9 Chip: iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are powered by a 64-bit Apple A9 chip and embedded M9 motion coprocessor that deliver up to 70% faster CPU performance and up to 90% faster graphics compared to the A8 chip inside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
- Improved Cameras: iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have 12-megapixel rear-facing iSight cameras with 4K video recording (3840x2160) and 5-megapixel front-facing FaceTime cameras with display-based Retina Flash. Optical image stabilization is now available for both photos and videos, but remains limited to the iPhone 6s Plus.
- Faster Touch ID: iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have a second-generation Touch ID fingerprint scanner that is up to two times faster compared to Touch ID on previous iPhones. Click here to read rest of article...
Wednesday September 9, 2015 11:20 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple today announced the iPad mini 4 at its "Hey Siri" media event in San Francisco. The tablet is virtually a 7.9-inch version of the iPad Air 2 and is 6.1mm in thickness, which is 18% thinner than the previous generation. The tablet also weighs just 0.65 pounds with a 30% faster CPU and 60% faster graphics than the iPad Mini 3.
The new tablet also has all of the expected improvements in its camera, with advanced optics, an improved sensor, and an Apple‑designed image signal processor. The iPad Mini 4 includes Touch ID and uses new iOS 9 features like Slide Over, Split View, and Picture in Picture to provide users with a more robust and economical mobile experience.
iPad Mini 4 is available in Space Gray, Gold, and Silver for $399 (16GB), $499 (64GB), and $599 (128GB), including cellular options. Apple has dropped the iPad mini 3 from its lineup, while the iPad mini 2 is available for $269.
MacRumors will be providing live blog and Twitter coverage of the "Hey Siri" media event, which commences at 10 AM Pacific on Wednesday. Below is a roundup that previews what to expect at the keynote based on previous reports from MacRumors, 9to5Mac, TechCrunch, Re/code, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other sources.
iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus
The ninth-generation iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will look virtually the same as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, retaining 4.7" and 5.5" ion-strengthened glass displays respectively with similar exterior designs.
It has been rumored for a few years that iPhones will eventually switch to sapphire crystal displays, but well-informed KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently claimed the material has yet to pass Apple's internal drop tests.
The rear shell will still have a layer of anodization to protect against corrosion and allow for different color options, including space gray, silver, gold and a new rose gold color. The new color should look similar to the rose gold Apple Watch Edition. Click here to read rest of article...
Monday August 17, 2015 11:45 am PDT by Juli Clover
Even as we await the public launch of iOS 9 in September, Apple is already looking ahead to iOS 9.1. During a two week span in July, Apple engineers appear to have focused their attention on developing the first major update to iOS 9, as seen in the MacRumors visitor logs from Apple IPs.
Beginning on July 21, we started seeing a small number of hits from devices running iOS 9.1. Visits picked up on July 22 and peaked in the dozens on July 28, before dying down as August approached. The majority of hits we received came from an iPad or iPad mini-sized device, while the rest came from a device the same size as the iPhone 6 Plus. It is not clear if the visits came from existing iOS devices or from new devices that are in testing, including the iPhone 6s Plus and the iPad mini 3.
Visits to MacRumors.com via Apple's networks from devices running iOS 9.1
Visits from iOS 9.1 devices have since tapered off, suggesting Apple's iOS team is once again working on getting iOS 9 ready for launch. It is not known why a two week period was spent on iOS 9.1, but it's possibly related to testing on the iPad Pro or iPad mini 4, both of which may already be in production or entering production soon.
We don't know what features will be introduced in iOS 9.1, but logic dictates it may be an update that's designed to launch alongside the larger-screened 12.9-inch "iPad Pro," which has been rumored to be coming in October or November. We did not, however, see visits from a device that corresponds to the rumored 2732 x 2048 display size of the iPad Pro.
For the past several years, Apple's iPads have debuted during the fall, launching in October or November at an event separate from the annual iPhone event. This year, there's been a rumor suggesting the next-generation iPads, namely the iPad mini 4, could debut in September alongside the iPhones, but it is not yet clear if this is Apple's plan.
BuzzFeed's John Paczkowski, who shared the event date for the 2015 iPhone 6 launch, believes new iPads are a possibility, but called the iPad Pro a "wildcard" for the event. Given how little we've heard about the device in recent weeks and the lack of part leaks, it seems unlikely the iPad Pro is ready for a September debut.
A standalone October or November launch date for the device seems more likely, and that launch could correspond to the iOS 9.1 update that is in the works. The iPad Pro may include several new features that will require a dedicated update, such as a pressure sensitive Force Touch display, a stylus, and a USB-C port that could support peripheral devices.
Tuesday August 11, 2015 6:10 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Files within OS X El Capitan indicate the upcoming iPad mini 4 will support full Split View multitasking, suggesting its internal specs will be on par with the iPad Air 2. An OS X El Capitan resource file first located by developer Hamza Sood and 9to5Mac from the Safari 9 browser depicts an iPad mini with two apps side-by-side, which is how the Split View feature works.
Responsive design mode, which gives developers a way to test different layouts in Safari 9, also allows developers to simulate a Split View layout on an iPad mini 3. The iPad mini 3 does not support Split View, offering further proof that the iPad mini 4 is likely to be the tablet that uses Split View multitasking.
iOS 9 introduces multitasking for the iPad, and while two of the features, Picture-in-Picture and Slide Over, are available on the iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 2, and iPad mini 3, the true Split View multitasking feature is only available on the iPad Air 2 because it has 2GB of RAM and a robust A8X processor.
To support Split View, the upcoming iPad mini 4 will need to have internal specs that match or exceed those of the iPad Air 2. It's likely the device will include Apple's A8X processor or the A9 processor that's being used in its 2015 iOS devices, with 2GB of RAM also being a strong possibility.
Multitasking on the iPad in iOS 9
Specs for the iPad mini 4 have not yet been confirmed, as rumors have focused primarily on the external design of the device. It's expected to look like a smaller version of the iPad Air 2, with a much slimmer 6.1mm body and iPad Air 2-style design features.
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