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iPhone 6s Roundup Updated
We're just 6 days away from Apple's big iPhone event, which will see the debut of the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus.

The phones will include Force Touch, upgraded processors, improved front-facing and rear cameras, and a new rose gold color will be available. For more details on the new devices, check out our full iPhone 6s roundup.


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Apple Planning to Launch 4K 21.5-Inch iMac in Late October
Apple will announce an updated 21.5-inch iMac with a 4K display at the end of October alongside the release of OS X El Capitan, reports 9to5Mac. The new iMac will then begin shipping out to customers in early November.

A new 21.5-inch Retina iMac has been anticipated for several months, following the discovery of code in OS X El Capitan that pointed towards a 21.5-inch machine with a resolution of 4096 x 2304. That code pointed towards Broadwell chips with Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 and AMD Radeon M380 - M395X discrete graphics, which may hint at the hardware we'll see in the updated iMac.

imacs.jpg
Reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also said in early August that the iMac line would receive a refresh this quarter, adding new processors and improved display quality that brings greater color saturation.

Apple began updating its iMac lineup last October, with the launch of the 27-inch Retina iMac. Updates across the line have been slow, however, due to Intel's ongoing Broadwell chip delays, and the 21.5-inch iMac has not seen an update since 2013.

It is not clear if Apple will release multiple 21.5-inch iMac models during the October refresh, or which chips those machines might use. Skylake chips appropriate for the iMac are launching "later this year," but there are a handful of Broadwell chips appropriate for various 21.5-inch iMac models.


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iPhone Continues to Increase Lead in U.S. Smartphone Market Share Ahead of 'iPhone 6s' Debut
The latest data from digital media analytics firm comScore shows that Apple continues to increase its lead over Samsung, LG, Motorola, HTC and other handset makers in U.S. smartphone market share, less than one week before the launch of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

iPhone 6 Side
iPhones captured 44.2% market share among U.S. smartphone subscribers aged 13 and older based on a three-month average ending July 2015, an increase of 1.1 percentage points over the preceding three month average.

comscore_smartphones_jul15 (1)
Samsung's smartphone share in the U.S. dropped to 27.3% in July 2015, a decline of 1.3 percentage points over April 2015. LG, Motorola and HTC rounded off the top five smartphone makers with 8.7%, 4.9% and 3.5% smartphone market share in the U.S. respectively.

Android remained the most widely adopted smartphone platform in the U.S. with 51.4% market share based on the July 2015 data, trailed by iOS with 44.2% market share. Windows Phone, BlackBerry and Symbian accounted for 2.9%, 1.3% and 0.1% market share in the U.S. respectively.

comscore-july-2015-smartphone-OS-share
Facebook ranked as the most popular smartphone app in the U.S. with 73.3% reach, according to comScore's Mobile Metrix. Facebook Messenger, YouTube, Google Search, Google Play, Google Maps, Pandora Radio, Gmail, Instagram and Yahoo Stocks rounded off the top ten apps.

Apple is set to announce the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus at its September 9th media event in San Francisco.


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'6S Marketing' Ad Agency Asks Apple to Rename 'iPhone 6s'
6S Marketing, an ad agency located in New York, is hoping to persuade Apple to change the name of its upcoming iOS device, the iPhone 6s, to the iPhone 7. The company has written an open letter addressed to Apple and rented several billboards, one in Times Square, reading "Dear Universe, Please call it the iPhone 7. Sincerely, 6S Marketing."

6S Marketing has also tagged its billboards with a campaign hashtag, #WeAre6S, which it says it uses to "highlight our unique and fun company culture."

6smarketingtimessquarebillboard
In the letter posted on its website, 6S Marketing goes on to say the company has heard rumors the next-generation iPhone will be called the iPhone 6s, and urges Apple to "reconsider" before detailing the company's long history.
See, our company name is 6S Marketing, but our clients, friends, and colleagues simply refer to us as good ol' "6S." It's a small name but a big part of our identity -- one we've been using since 2000, when we started this company in my tiny apartment. At that time, we didn't think that one of the biggest, and most well-respected, companies would use it to name a mobile device. (We were still using Motorola flip phones at the time, after all.)

The reason we chose the name "6S" is that it sound like "success" (get it?).
As we're now less than a week away from the unveiling of the next-generation iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, there would be no time for Apple to change its own marketing materials and packaging even should it choose to consider 6S Marketing's plea, a fact the company likely knows, making this more of a publicity stunt than a genuine request.

6smarketingotherbillboard
Apple's iPhone naming scheme has been the same for multiple years in a row, having kicked off with the iPhone 3GS. 6S Marketing's publication of its letter at this late date in Apple's development cycle suggests the company is simply hoping to garner some attention ahead of the September 9 introduction of the next-generation iPhone.

6S Marketing ends its open letter with the following: "Hopefully, this message will reach you in time and you'll reconsider leaving "6S" to the originals -- we've been rocking it since the millennium, after all."


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Apple Focused on Improving Apple Music Ahead of Android Launch
Just over two months after the launch of Apple Music, the streaming music service has received a mix of praise and criticism from early adopters. Beats 1 and curated playlists are among the most acclaimed features of Apple Music, while a confusing user interface and iTunes library issues have caused frustration among some users.

Apple-Music-For-You
Addressing those issues, iTunes executive Oliver Schusser told The Guardian on Thursday that the company is actively working to improve Apple Music, ahead of its launch on Android and Sonos-connected hi-fi systems in the fall.
“There’s a lot of work going into making the product better. Our focus is on editorial and playlists, and obviously we have teams all around the world working on that, but we’re also adding features and cleaning up certain things,” Oliver Schusser, vice president, iTunes International, told the Guardian.
Schusser also said Apple still has "a bit of homework to be done" to improve Apple Music Connect, a social platform for artists to connect with fans. Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine admitted last month that Apple Music Connect is a work in progress.
“Apple Music Connect is growing big-time with more and more artists connecting to their fans, but we still have a bit of homework to be done for the rest of the year.”
Apple Music launched for iOS, Mac and PC on June 30, with some 11 million users signing up to take advantage of the service's free three-month trial period. That trial will expire for some users soon, meaning they will have to choose between paying $9.99 per month or using iTunes or other methods of listening to music.
“If you follow the industry and look at the numbers, the download business has been really, really healthy. iTunes is a big part of our business, still, and will continue to be, so we focus just as much time and energy on maintaining that, editorially and working on features,” said Schusser.
Schusser assures that Apple is only interested in the long-term picture for Apple Music, rather than constantly measuring how many users are signing up. Starting later this month, it should become clearer just how many users are interested in using the service as paid subscribers.


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Apple to Promote iOS Games With New Dedicated Twitter Account
Apple today expanded its presence on social networking site Twitter, creating a new Twitter account dedicated to sharing App Store games. According to the account bio, which features the tagline, "Embrace the future of gaming," it's run by Apple's team of Games Editors.

app_store_games_twitter
Apple has long had an App Store Twitter account that frequently shares new and popular games, but it also shares standard apps, creating a feed that's somewhat unfocused. Apple appears to have made the decision to distinguish and promote games separately from non-gaming apps going forward, in an effort to streamline each account and give both games and regular apps more attention.

Games have been a cornerstone of the App Store since it first launched, and Apple makes an effort to highlight different game compilations and editor's picks on a weekly basis, in addition to offering frequent sales and detailed gaming categories.


It is not clear why Apple has chosen today to create a new Twitter account for gaming as gaming on iOS has been highly popular for several years, but it could be related to the fact that the App Store is set to expand to a new device in the very near future, the Apple TV. Launching next week, the new Apple TV will include a full App Store and a motion-enabled remote control able to be used for gaming purposes.

Thus far, the App Store Games account has only tweeted once, but following a retweet from the main App Store account, it's already at more than a thousand followers in just a half hour.

Update:The Verge spoke to Apple about the new App Store Games account and got some details on how it will be used. App Store editors will share sneak previews of games, tips and tricks, and profiles of talented gamers. The account will also let App Store editors interact with game developers, and it's "part of a broader push into gaming."


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KGI Expects New iPhones to Have 5MP Front Camera, Retain 16GB, 64GB and 128GB Capacities
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a note to investors that claims the so-called "iPhone 6s" will be offered in 16GB, 64GB and 128GB storage capacities, the same sizes available for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Kuo also claims the iPhone 6s will have an improved front-facing FaceTime camera with a 5-megapixel sensor, and reaffirms three much-rumored features: Force Touch, a new rose gold casing color and an upgraded Touch ID fingerprint scanner.

iPhone-6-storage
Kuo's prediction corroborates multiple rumors that claim Apple will retain 16GB, 64GB and 128GB storage sizes for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, which are expected to be announced at the company's September 9th media event in San Francisco.

Kuo says the iPhone 6s entered mass production in mid-August after some manufacturing bottlenecks due to Force Touch, casing and vibration motors.


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'iPhone 6s' Measures Slightly Thicker and Larger Than iPhone 6
For months, rumors have indicated the upcoming "iPhone 6s" may be slightly thicker and larger than its predecessor, likely due to several factors including a change in the aluminum being used for the shell, thickening of weak spots in the case to help address concerns over bending, and new support for Force Touch functionality in the display. The size increase is expected to be only a fraction of a millimeter in each dimension, making it virtually unnoticeable to users and allowing most iPhone 6 accessories to continue to work with the iPhone 6s.

MacRumors has now received several photos showing an iPhone 6s assembled from parts, allowing full measurements of the device to be taken. Of most interest has been the thickness of the device, and photos show the iPhone 6s measuring 7.08 mm thick compared to Apple's official measurement of 6.9 mm on the iPhone 6. This is in line with previous rumors claiming that each of the new models will be roughly 0.2 mm thicker than the current iPhones, with the iPhone 6s Plus moving to 7.3 mm thick from 7.1 mm.

iphone_6s_thickness
The new photos also reveal slight increases for the height and width of the iPhone 6s, with the device measuring 138.19 mm tall and 67.68 mm wide, compared to 138.1 mm and 67.0 mm for the corresponding measurements on the iPhone 6. Since the height and width of the device are determined solely by the rear shell, we can also compare these measurements to those taken by Unbox Therapy last month. Those measurements came in at 138.26 mm tall and 67.16 mm wide.

iphone_6s_height_width
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo had predicted as early as mid-June that the iPhone 6s could be roughly 0.15 mm taller and wider and 0.2 mm thicker than the iPhone 6, and while there is some variability in measurements likely due in large part to the relatively low quality digital calipers being used for measurements, they do suggest there may indeed be a slight increase in each dimension.

On a percentage basis, the thickness would see the biggest increase of nearly 3 percent, matching the iPhone 6 Plus thickness. That increase could be enough to prevent some tight-fitting iPhone 6 cases from fitting the 6s, but many cases should have enough wiggle room to accommodate the new models.

Case makers such as Spigen are already announcing cases designed specifically for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, suggesting they are confident in rumors and leaks pointing toward slight size changes, and making early announcements of cases specific to the new models gives the company some additional marketing buzz headed into the release.

Apple will introduce the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus at a media event scheduled for next Wednesday, September 9, an event that is becoming increasingly jam-packed amid reports of unveilings of a new Apple TV, the long-rumored iPad Pro, and a thinner iPad mini 4. Apple Watch tidbits such as new Sport Band color options and final looks at iOS 9 and watchOS 2 before their public launches are also likely to be included.


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How to Get the Best Resale Price for Your iPhone 6, 6 Plus or 5s
With the "iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus" expected to be announced at Apple's September 9th media event, and released a few weeks later, now is the time for prospective upgraders to begin exploring trade-in and resale options for their current iPhone or Android-based smartphone.

iphone_lineup_2014
Getting the best value for your iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5s or other current smartphone can help offset a significant portion of your next iPhone purchase, but resale and trade-in prices will drop significantly between now and the launch of new iPhones, so it is best to move fast.

MacRumors compared iPhone trade-in prices from various services using a 16GB iPhone 6 from AT&T as a baseline.

Trade-In Programs


gazelle_logo_lrgGazelle announced today that it is offering a Best Price Guarantee on iPhone 6, 6 Plus and 5s trade-ins until September 9th, promising to beat the trade-in values offered by Apple and carriers AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile.

Gazelle's Best Price Guarantee covers all storage sizes and colors and includes a 30-day grace period, meaning that you can lock in your trade-in price now and wait until you have your new iPhone before sending in your current one.

Average Price (16GB/AT&T): $301 (iPhone 6), $326 (iPhone 6 Plus), $166 (iPhone 5s)
Payment Method: Check by Mail, Amazon Gift Card, PayPal or Charitable Donation
Resale Method: Ship iPhone to Gazelle (Free)

nextworth_logo_NextWorth offers a similar trade-in service as Gazelle for the iPhone 4 through iPhone 6 Plus. NextWorth quotes are valid for 30 days, allowing you to lock in a trade-in price on your current iPhone and ship it after receiving your new iPhone.

NextWorth offers higher prices on average for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus than Gazelle, with trade-in values up to $480, although it depends on the specific model and condition of the smartphone. Completing a checklist about the condition of the smartphone is required.

Average Price (16GB/AT&T): $320 (iPhone 6), $360 (iPhone 6 Plus), $160 (iPhone 5s)
Payment Method: Check by Mail, Discover Prepaid Card, PayPal or Target Gift Card
Payment Process: Ship iPhone to NextWorth (Free)

amazon-1Amazon runs a trade-in store where you can search for the iPhone model that you want to trade in and receive a price quote. After answering a few questions about the condition of the smartphone and entering your shipping address, you can print off a shipping label to mail the iPhone for free in exchange for an Amazon Gift Card.

Average Price (16GB/AT&T): $360 (iPhone 6), $389 (iPhone 6 Plus), $175 (iPhone 5s)
Payment Method: Amazon Gift Card
Payment Process: Ship iPhone to Amazon (Free)

Carriers


ATT-Verizon-Sprint-TMobileUnless you are paying off your current iPhone on a monthly installment plan, and have few other resale options, it is usually best to avoid trade-in programs from AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile.

These carriers typically offer lower prices than other trade-in services such as Amazon, NextWorth and Gazelle, and can have confusing terms and conditions. Additionally, none provide a cash payout option and instead offer a carrier gift card or account credit within 1-3 billing cycles.

A side-by-side comparison of average trade-in prices for iPhones (each 16GB/AT&T):

- AT&T: $300 (iPhone 6), $325 (iPhone 6 Plus), $135 (iPhone 5s)
- Sprint: $335 (iPhone 6), $340 (iPhone 6 Plus), $115 (iPhone 5s)
- T-Mobile: $351 (iPhone 6), $361 (iPhone 6 Plus), $136 (iPhone 5s)
- Verizon: Prices not available at this time.

Retail Stores


Apple LogoApple's Reuse and Recycling Program in partnership with Brightstar is another option for trading in your old iPhone at an Apple Store or online, although the website does not currently accept the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus.

Brightstar offers a $165 Apple Store gift card for a good condition 16GB iPhone 5s on AT&T, and less for the iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s. It is best to look past Apple for your trade in at this time.

bestbuyBest Buy offers a trade-in program for iPhones and other electronics in stores and online. Simply complete the checklist to confirm your iPhone model and its condition to receive an estimate, at which point you can visit a Best Buy store or begin the free mail-in process online.

Average Price (16GB/AT&T): $335 (iPhone 6), $385 (iPhone 6 Plus), $155 (iPhone 5s)
Payment Method: Best Buy Gift Card
Payment Process: In-Store or Ship iPhone to Best Buy (Free)

Target also has a NextWorth partnership and Walmart and Staples have trade-in programs.

Sell It Yourself


Craigslist-logoCraigslist is a free classifieds website where you can sell your iPhone within your local area by posting an advertisement. You can set any price you want for your iPhone, and those interested can contact you through the website to inquire about purchasing the device. Be sure to take necessary measures to ensure your personal safety, such as meeting in a public place if you decide to sell your iPhone in person.

ebay-128eBay is another option for selling your iPhone yourself. You can set up an eBay listing for your iPhone in just a few minutes and choose your desired price and shipping details. eBay users are backed by seller protection in the event that something goes wrong, although this can usually be avoided by only dealing with eBay users that have a high number of positive ratings and feedback.

Glyde and Swappa are also recommended buy-and-sell websites for iPhones.

Consensus


Amazon is the best option for its combined convenience and trade-in value, so long as you are okay with an Amazon Gift Card. But, selling your used iPhone on Craigslist or eBay will almost always fetch you a higher return.

AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and Apple trade-in programs should be avoided if possible, while NextWorth and Gazelle are middle-of-the-pack options that do provide attractive payment options such as cash and PayPal.

Prices are subject to change.


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Apple Likely to Introduce iPad Pro and iPad Mini 4 at September 9 Event
Along with unveiling the next-generation iPhones, the revamped Apple TV, and new Apple Watch Sport bands at its September 9 event, Apple is also likely planning to introduce the updated iPad mini 4 and the much-anticipated larger-screened iPad Pro, reports 9to5Mac.

While the event will see the debut of the 12.9-inch tablet, Apple does not plan to ship it until November, following late October pre-orders. A September introduction for new iPads is not in line with Apple's past iPad updates, which have come in October for several years running, but Apple may be introducing the iPad Pro several months early in order to give developers time to create apps for the new device.


Apple also plans to introduce the iPad mini 4, a significant update that brings the 7.9-inch tablet in line with the existing iPad Air 2. It appears the 9.7-inch iPad Air 2 may not be updated in 2015, with Apple instead focusing its attention on the iPad Pro and the iPad mini 4 and pushing the iPad Air 2 update back to 2016.

New Macs are also not expected to be included at Apple's September event, and with the iPads being debuted this month instead of next month, it's unclear if we will see two fall Apple events in 2015 as we have in past years.

Today's report warns that while Apple's plan is to unveil the iPad Pro at the September 9 event, the company could choose to delay its introduction until October.

In addition to a larger 12.9-inch display, the iPad Pro is expected to include an A9 processor, 2GB of RAM, a Force Touch-enabled stylus, and perhaps USB 3.0 ports that will support peripheral devices. The tablet will run iOS 9.1, an update to iOS 9 that will debut in November when the iPad Pro launches.


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Apple to Debut New Apple Watch Sport Bands at September 9 Event
At its upcoming iPhone-centric event on September 9, Apple will debut new Apple Watch Sport bands in a variety of new colors, MacRumors can confirm. News of the new bands was shared by 9to5Mac this morning, and we've also been hearing similar rumors about Apple's plans to introduce additional band options.

It is not clear what colors Apple is planning to introduce, but it's possible the company will focus on darker colors to complement the neon-like shades of the existing Apple Watch Sport bands, which come in bright pink, green, and blue, along with black and white.

Apple has already produced Sport Bands in additional colors, which were initially shown off by Jony Ive at the Milan Design Week in April shortly before the Apple Watch launched. At that event, he displayed a selection of bands in red, orange, yellow, blue, and several nude shades.

customapplewatchbands
Image via Umberta Gnutti Beretta

Apple has also provided several celebrities with custom Apple Watch Sport bands in unique colors. Former professional rugby player Will Carling received a red Apple Watch Sport band, while director J.J. Abrams was given a custom navy blue Sport band.

Along with introducing new Apple Watch bands, iPhones, and the revamped Apple TV, Apple may also announce sales of the Apple Watch in additional countries, including Austria, Denmark, and India. We'll also hear more about watchOS 2 at Apple's iPhone event, with Apple providing a launch date for the new operating system update.


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New Apple TV to Start at $149, Feature Universal Search With Siri
Apple is set to introduce the next iteration of its Apple TV lineup at next week's September 9 media event, alongside the expected announcement of new iPhones, and a previously rumored feature is gaining additional traction today with a report from BuzzFeed claiming the new Apple TV will have universal search functionality, letting users search once and get hits from multiple sources, not just iTunes.

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Universal search feature will reportedly be a "cornerstone" of the new Apple TV, allowing users to, for example, search for one movie across services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and iTunes, among others. The ability to search for actors and directors will also be included in the search options, and won't limit users to just movie or television show titles.
Sources familiar with Apple’s plans say that a cornerstone of the the company’s new set-top box is a universal search feature that will enable searches across multiple streaming video services as well as Apple’s iTunes Store. Instead of searching the catalogs of multiple video services one-at-a-time for a particular movie, you’ll now be able to search all — or most of them — at once and then choose the service on which you’d like to watch it. You’ll also be able to search for actors and directors, and run other more targeted searches as well — all with Siri.
The report also claims that the new Apple TV will "start" at a price point of $149, hinting that there could be more expensive models with perhaps the possibility of expanded storage capacities. The $149 retail price does line up with previous rumors that pegged the Apple TV of launching with either a $149 or $199 price tag. The company has been said to be keeping the third-generation Apple TV, currently priced at $69, as an entry-level option.

Along with Siri integration, the next-generation Apple TV is rumored to feature an A8 processor, a touch-pad remote, and an App Store with an SDK available for developers to create apps. The new box will be aimed at more than just video consumption, with recent rumors hinting that the newly designed remote control will include motion sensors to support "casual" gaming experiences.

Update 8:52 AM: According to a follow-up report by 9to5Mac, the new Apple TV's onboard storage will be in the 8–16 GB range, and the touchpad remote included with the box will be black rather than the silver seen on the current Apple TV remote.


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Intel Unveils Full Lineup of Skylake Processors for Notebooks and Desktops, Early 2016 Likely for Most Macs
Intel has released detailed information about its upcoming Skylake processors for notebooks and desktops ahead of IFA 2015 in Berlin (via Ars Technica). The sixth-generation chips will deliver CPU and GPU performance improvements and longer battery life, and are likely to power future MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and iMac models released over the next year.

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Retina MacBook

Intel's new lineup of Core M processors appropriate for the 12-inch Retina MacBook will provide up to 10 hours of battery life, between 10%-20% faster CPU performance and up to 40% faster graphics compared to equivalent Broadwell chips.

CPU World accurately shared Core m3, Core m5 and Core m7 specifications last week, with all three families of chips including Intel HD 515 graphics, 4MB of L3 cache and 4.5 watt thermal design power (TDP).

Intel Skylake Core M MacBook
The low-end Core m3 6Y30 replaces the Core M-5Y31 and is likely suited for the base model 12-inch MacBook sold for $1,299. The mid-tier Core m5 6Y54 and Core m5 6Y57 replace the Core M-5Y51 on the high-end 12-inch MacBook sold for $1,599, while the high-end Core m7 6Y75 replaces the Core M-5Y71 for top-of-the-line 12-inch MacBook custom configurations.

Core M processors have configurable TDPs, allowing for performance and heat output to be adjusted. Core m3, m5 and m7 chips can be run at 3.5-3.8 watts or be increased to 7 watts to allow for higher CPU clock speeds. For the current 12-inch MacBook, Apple boosted the 900 MHz 5Y31 chip to 1.1 GHz, 1.1 GHz 5Y51 chip to 1.2 GHz and 1.2 GHz 5Y71 chip to 1.3 GHz.

Ars Technica notes that Core M processors should be available to Apple and other PC makers now, meaning that Core m3, m5 and m7-powered notebooks could begin shipping within the next few months. However, given that the 12-inch MacBook just launched in April, it remains uncertain if Apple is willing to release updated models this soon or hold off until 2016.

MacBook Air

Intel's new 15-watt Core i5 and i7 chips appropriate for the MacBook Air feature dual-core 1.8 GHz to 2.2 GHz processors with Turbo Boost up to 2.7 GHz - 3.2 GHz, Intel Iris Graphics 540, integrated GPUs with dedicated eDRAM, 4MB of L3 cache and 1866 MHz LPDDR3 memory speed.

Intel-Skylake-i5-i7
Intel's full-size Skylake-U specifications chart

Intel's Core i5-6260U or i5-6360U chips are suitable for the low-end 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air, while the Core i7-6560U or i7-6650U are appropriate for the high-end 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air. Current generation MacBook Airs are powered by Intel's Core i5-5250U and i5-5650U chips.

In July, a leaked Intel slide deck revealed that Skylake "U-Series" processors will deliver up to 10% faster CPU performance, up to 34% faster Intel HD graphics and up to 1.4 hours longer battery life compared to equivalent Broadwell chips.

Intel says that Skylake "U-Series" processors with integrated Iris 540 graphics will not begin shipping until early 2016, making the MacBook Air an unlikely candidate for a refresh through at least the remainder of the year.

13" Retina MacBook Pro

Intel's new 28-watt Core i5 and i7 chips appropriate for the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro feature dual-core 2.9 GHz to 3.3 GHz processors with Turbo Boost up to 3.1 GHz - 3.4 GHz, Intel Iris Graphics 550, integrated GPUs with dedicated eDRAM, 4MB of L3 cache and 1866 MHz LPDDR3 memory speed.

Intel-Skylake-28-Watt-Chips
Intel's Core i5-6267U chip is suitable for the low-end 13-inch MacBook Pro, while the Core i5-6287U is appropriate for the mid-range 13-inch MacBook Pro and the Core i7-6567U is suited for the high-end 13-inch MacBook Pro. Current generation 13-inch MacBook Pros are powered by Intel's Core i5-5257U, i5-5287U and i7-5557U chips.

Intel Skylake "U-Series" processors with integrated Iris 550 graphics, the successor to Intel Iris 6100 graphics, will not begin shipping until early 2016, meaning the 13-inch MacBook Pro is unlikely to be refreshed through at least the remainder of the year. Early 2016 appears to be a more likely target.

15" Retina MacBook Pro

Intel announced a number of new 45-watt "H-Series" processors, but none with the higher-end Iris Pro graphics Apple uses in the 15" Retina MacBook Pro. Skylake H-Series chips with Iris Pro graphics are not expected to launch until early 2016, and Intel has yet to release detailed specs on these chips.

Apple does have another option for a 15" MacBook Pro update, however, as Intel announced Broadwell chips appropriate for the lineup back in early June, just weeks after Apple refreshed the family without upgrading the processors from the previous generation's Haswell chips. But given that it has only been a few months since the last update, Apple may elect to skip a Broadwell refresh of the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro and wait for Skylake early next year.

iMac

While Apple's notebooks receive most of the attention, Ars Technica also highlights some new Skylake desktop chips that could make their way into future iMacs. This batch of Skylake desktop chips includes three at the Core i5 level: a 2.7 GHz 6400U, a 3.2 GHz 6500U , and a 3.3 GHz 6600U. At the high end is a new Core i7-6700U running at 3.4 GHz.

skylake_desktop
Apple's iMac lineup is currently a hodgepodge of Haswell chips due to Intel's numerous delays with Broadwell, with Apple having limped along by introducing some speed-bumped Haswell chips on certain models and starting to introduce Retina displays on higher-end 27-inch models. Most of Apple's iMac models use discrete graphics chips, and those machines could suffice with Intel's latest Skylake chips. But some lower-end models currently rely on Iris Pro integrated graphics and Intel has yet to announce any such chips for Skylake.

Ars Technica notes the company currently has no plans to release any socketed Skylake desktop chips with Iris or Iris Pro graphics, but that doesn't preclude the possibility of a special soldered version as Apple used on the original low-end Haswell iMac in the current generation.

Intel will reportedly be making all of its new Skylake desktop chips available by the end of the year, but it is unclear whether Apple will be able to populate its full range of iMacs with the chips announced today, even if it can simplify its lineup somewhat as it moves away from Haswell. Rumors have suggested an iMac update is coming soon, but it remains to be seen what the exact specs of those machines are.

Mac mini and Mac Pro

Apple typically uses the same chips in the Mac mini as it does in the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, so today's Skylake announcement does offer some new options for the Mac mini. But with the current Mac mini having yet to adopt the Broadwell chips that appeared in the MacBook Pro earlier this year and Apple's recent pattern of lengthening Mac mini product cycles amid a declining desktop market, it is unclear when and with what processors the Mac mini will be updated.

With the Mac Pro using high-end chips that generally lag behind their mainstream counterparts by many months, the Mac Pro is often on a different product cycle than other Macs, and that remains the case with Skylake as Intel has yet to announce a full set of Xeon processors appropriate for the Mac Pro. An update is possible, however, as it has been nearly two years since Apple released the radically redesigned Mac Pro. It's been nearly a year since Intel released "Haswell-EP" chips as successors to the processors used in the 2013 Mac Pro, but Apple did not elect to release updated Mac Pros as those new Haswell chips became available and it is unclear if Apple considers them a viable option as this point in their product cycle.

Apple frequently holds an October media event to focus on iPads and Macs, and many are hoping a similar event is in store for this year, perhaps centered around the "iPad Pro," some Mac updates, and a final look at OS X El Capitan before its public release. But with most of the Skylake chips needed for updated Macs not arriving until early 2016, we may only see a few Mac families updated before the holidays.

Eric Slivka contributed to this report.


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Apple Continues to Recruit Talent to Join Secretive Automotive Team
Apple continues to recruit talent to bolster its "Project Titan" team, which is rumored to be researching an electric vehicle. Over the past several weeks, the company has hired multiple employees from Tesla Motors, Texas Instruments, and other companies in the automotive and technology industries, likely to join hundreds of others already working on the so-called "Apple Car."

Tesla Texas Instruments
Apple hired former Tesla Motors engineering manager Hal Ockerse last month to join its own software engineering team, according to his LinkedIn profile. Ockerse was employed at Tesla between July 2014 and August 2015, working on hardware architecture and advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) components, including cameras, radars, LiDAR, and engine control units (ECUs).

Hal-Ockerse-Apple
Ockerse does not list his responsibilities at Apple, but it is likely that he is working on Apple's car-related project. His experience prior to Tesla includes an eleven-year stint at Gentex Corporation, where as a research manager he worked on advanced driver assist solutions, a three-axis automotive electronic compass, custom designed HDR image cameras and sensors, and more.

Apple also recruited former Texas Instruments design engineer Subhagato Dutta to join its in-house technologies team in July. Dutta is a recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, known for its research on self-driving vehicles, and worked on an automotive algorithm and imaging algorithm development team at Texas Instruments between July 2012 and November 2013.

subhagato-dutta-apple
Yakshu Madaan joined Apple as a technical program manager in July, according to his LinkedIn profile. Madaan previously served as an operations manager at Tata Motors, the largest Indian automotive manufacturer, between July 2012 and August 2014. Madaan also designed and developed fuel injection strategies as a research assistant at the Indian Institute of Technology and UBC in early 2011.

Yakshu-madaan-apple
Apple has been recruiting automotive experts since at least February for its automotive-related project, including former Tesla, Ford and GM employees, but there still remains some uncertainty as to whether Apple is working on its own vehicle or building upon its CarPlay platform for an enhanced in-car experience. As expected, the project remains highly secretive in Cupertino.

Last week, it was reported that former Tesla firmware engineer Jamie Carlson left the company to join Apple's "Special Projects" group in August, alongside several other autonomous vehicle experts. Apple also hired Doug Betts, former Senior Vice President of the Chrysler Group, and Paul Furgale, a researcher who specializes in autonomous vehicles, according to a report in July.


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Apple Watch Could Launch in Austria, Denmark and India This Month
Apple is expected to provide additional details about watchOS 2 at its September 9th media event in San Francisco. Alongside that announcement, a trio of rumors hint towards Apple expanding Apple Watch sales to Austria, Denmark, India and possibly other countries later this month.

applewatchtrio
Austrian website MacMania claims that the Apple Watch will be available in Austria starting September 15, citing information it received over Facebook Messenger from a reputable source working for an undisclosed large electronics chain in the country. Apple does not have an official retail presence in Austria.

Apple-Watch-Austria-MacMania
MacMania reports the Apple Watch will launch in Austria on September 15

Danske Bank, the largest bank in Denmark, also recently issued a press release stating that its MobilePay service will support the Apple Watch when the device launches in Denmark next month (via Rec.dk), but the bank has since backtracked and now cites "rumors" about a September launch.

Danske Bank has a large presence throughout the Nordic region of Europe, with locations in Denmark, Finland and Norway, three countries where the Apple Watch is slated to launch before the end of the year per Apple's website. The bank also operates in Sweden, where the Apple Watch launched in July.

Indian website iGyaan claims that the Apple Watch will launch in India in September, starting at Rs. 24,999 for the entry-level Apple Watch Sport. "However we have some good news for those waiting to get their hands on the device," the report said in late August. "It arrives in the country next month."

The full list of countries where the Apple Watch will be "available in 2015" includes Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, India, Malaysia, Norway, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Apple also has an Apple Watch preview website live in Latin America, but no launch date is provided.

Apple has launched the Apple Watch in 22 countries to date in four waves:

  • April 24: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, U.K. and U.S.
  • June 26: Italy, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and Taiwan
  • July 17: The Netherlands, Sweden, Thailand
  • July 31: New Zealand, Russia, Turkey

    It should be noted that all four dates listed above were Fridays, so there is a possibility that Denmark's rumored Apple Watch launch date of Tuesday, September 15 is inaccurate. But with "iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus" pre-orders expected on Friday, September 11, ahead of a Friday, September 18 launch, and watchOS 2 expected midweek, Apple could go for an unusual date.


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    Apple Reportedly Exploring Producing Original TV Shows
    Apple has been having early discussions with Hollywood executives about producing original video programming in a bid to potentially compete against companies like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, according to a new report from Variety.

    overview_whatis_hero_2x
    Sources indicate the Cupertino, Calif. colossus has held preliminary conversations in recent weeks with executives in Hollywood to suss out their interest in spearheading efforts to produce entertainment content. The unit putting out the feelers reports into Eddy Cue, who is Apple’s point man on all content-related matters, from its negotiations with programmers for Apple TV to its recent faceoff with Taylor Swift.
    It's currently unclear how large Apple's ambitions and commitment to producing original video content are, as sources have told Variety contradictory things about the Cupertino company's plans. One source says Apple wants to create development and production departments that could create long-term content like Netflix does with original TV shows and movies. Another source says Apple is "flirting" with the idea, and launched an "unprecedented bid" to sign Top Gear stars Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond when they left the BBC. However, Amazon ended up winning that bidding war.

    In recent years, Apple has hired independent film content experts to shore up iTunes Movies' independent offerings with exclusive windows on films and a broader selection of content, including offering movies available for rent before or during their theatrical runs.

    More recently, Apple has expanded into original content with its worldwide Beats 1 Radio station and music videos for artists like Drake, Eminem and M.I.A., which are reportedly produced in-house. With Apple's rumored live TV-over-the-internet service coming in 2016, it's likely the Cupertino company could be looking for original and exclusive content to lure customers to its service rather than its competitors.


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    Samsung Announces Round 'Gear S2' Smart Watch
    Samsung today unveiled its newest smart watch, the Samsung Gear S2, which is the company's first watch that includes a round display instead of one that's square or rectangular.

    Positioned as Samsung's seventh smart watch release, the Gear S2 comes in three varieties: Classic, standard, and 3G. The Classic version includes a black case with a black leather band, while the standard version includes a dark gray case with a matching rubber band or a silver case with a white rubber band. According to Samsung, the Classic model is for users "who prefer a more timeless watch design," while the standard model is "ideal for those who are on-the-go and have an admiration for minimal and modern design."

    samsunggears2
    The third model, the 3G Gear S2, features the same design as the standard model but includes a 3G radio to connect to 3G cellular networks. With dedicated 3G capabilities, the 3G Gear S2 can be used without a phone, unlike the Apple Watch and most other smart watches on the market.
    "For the past several years, Samsung has pioneered and advanced the wearables category, bringing brave new concepts to the smart wearables market," said JK Shin, CEO and Head of Samsung's IT & Mobile Business. "The Samsung Gear S2 reflects Samsung's most progressive innovation. It is the perfect complement for any occasion, easily taking you from day to night, from work to workout--and ensuring that you get more out of every moment in your day, by making it smarter and ultimately more personal and fun."
    Each of the 11.4 millimeter thick Gear S2 watches includes a 1.2-inch diameter touch display with a resolution of 360 x 360 (302 pixels per inch), a 1 GHz dual-core processor, 512MB RAM, and 4GB of storage space. It charges wirelessly, has two to three days of battery life, and includes NFC, WiFi, and Bluetooth. On the battery front it outshines the Apple Watch depending on use, but it has less storage space than the Apple Watch's 8GB.

    The bezel of the Gear S2 rotates, a feature that's used to navigate through the operating system to interact with apps, and it also uses dedicated Home and Back buttons. Samsung plans to release apps and watch faces designed specifically for the circular display of the Gear S2. Taking a cue from Apple, Samsung designed a new 24-hour fitness activity log for the Gear S2, which will let users view daily progress and get reminders to help them stay on track with fitness goals.

    Samsung's Gear S2 watch runs the Tizen operating system instead of Android, making it incompatible with the Android Wear app for iOS that Google launched earlier today.

    Samsung has not yet released pricing details on the Gear S2 or provided a release date, but the company plans to provide more information at the IFA consumer electronics trade show in Berlin, which starts later this week.


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    Apple TV Gains Updated NFL Channel With Game Pass Integration
    The Apple TV's existing NFL Now channel was today revamped, changing the name to "NFL" and adding support for Game Pass subscriptions. Through the updated channel, NFL fans who have a Game Pass subscription can watch on-demand NFL games and live out-of-market preseason games on the Apple TV for the first time.

    In late July, the NFL did away with its existing NFL Game Rewind program, which previously gave customers in the United States access to on-demand NFL games after they aired on broadcast television. Game Rewind was replaced with Game Pass, with access being added to the Apple TV and the NFL Mobile app on the iPhone and the iPad.

    nfl_game_pass_main
    The prior NFL Now channel that was on the Apple TV was limited to historic videos, breaking news, and game highlights rather than complete games as the NFL's contracts with television providers have previously prevented it from showing full game content on the television through the Apple TV.

    Game Pass includes live access to most out-of-market preseason games, aside from those that are nationally broadcast, plus on-demand regular season, playoff, and Super Bowl games that are available after they air on broadcast television.

    Game Pass is available in the United States, Bermuda, Antigua, the Bahamas, any U.S. territories, possessions and commonwealths (including American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands), and Mexico. An NFL Game Pass subscription is priced at $99.99 and access to content will last until July 31, 2016.

    nfl_game_pass
    NFL fans outside of the United States also have access to an international "Game Pass" service that offers up live games and on-demand content, which confusingly shares the same name as the new service available in the United States.

    (Thanks, Dale!)


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    University of Oklahoma Becomes First School to Accept Apple Pay Across Campus
    applepayoklahomaAs of this week, the University of Oklahoma will begin accepting Apple Pay across its entire campus, becoming the first university to widely embrace Apple Pay. Students attending the University of Oklahoma can use Apple Pay at any of the campus's 400 point-of-service locations, including bookstores, restaurants, and more.
    Starting this week, Sooners are now able to pay for items at any one of OU's 400 point-of-service locations -- everywhere from Couch Restaurants to the One University Store and the OU Bookstore. That's right: Buying textbooks, technology and food on campus has never been easier -- or more techy.
    In a quirky post announcing Apple Pay, the university created a list of reasons why "having Apple Pay campus wide is so awesome," ranging from being able to pay without a wallet to the security of the transactions.

    The University of Oklahoma appears to be the first college to begin accepting Apple Pay campus wide, but in the near future, more than 700 universities and colleges will adopt the payments service. Apple CEO Tim Cook made the announcement during the company's third-quarter earnings call, specifically naming the University of Oklahoma, the University of Kentucky, and Auburn University, Cook's own alma mater.

    Since its October 2014 debut, Apple Pay has steadily grown in popularity. Apple Pay works with hundreds of debit and credit cards in the United States and it is accepted at more than 1 million locations across the country.

    (Thanks, Joshua!)


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    Apple and Cisco Team Up for iOS Enterprise 'Fast Lane'
    Apple today sent out a press release announcing a new partnership with Cisco, which will see the two companies teaming up to create a "fast lane" for iOS business users through the optimization of Cisco networks for iOS devices and apps. The partnership will allow iOS devices to work more efficiently in workplaces that use Cisco technology.

    cisco_apple
    iOS is the world's best mobile platform, and nearly every Fortune 500 and Global 500 company today has put iOS at the center of their mobile strategy," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "iPhone and iPad have become essential tools for the modern workforce and are changing the way work gets done. Together with Cisco, we believe we can give businesses the tools to maximize the potential of iOS and help employees become even more productive using the devices they already love."
    Through the partnership, iOS devices and Cisco networks will be optimized to work together to enhance productivity for enterprise users. Apple and Cisco are aiming to make the iPhone a better business collaboration tool for use with Cisco's voice and video environments, "providing employees with a seamless experience between their iPhone and their desk phone."


    Cisco will create "experiences" tailored to iOS devices across mobile, cloud applications, and collaboration tools like Cisco Spark, Cisco Telepresence, and Cisco WebEx to improve collaborative interactions and "reinvent the meeting experience.


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