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    iPhone 6s and 6s Plus colours

    The recent Apple special event at San Francisco was an Apple fanboy’s dream come true. Packed full of new product updates from the ‘Gigantor’ 12.9-inch iPad Pro and Apple Pencil to a refreshed Apple TV and new Apple Watch straps, the 9 September event took over 2 hours to complete and invited many guests to showcase the capabilities of their new products, including Microsoft. But the most important gadget of it all had to be Apple’s latest iPhones – the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

    For a lot of people, me included, it is often not a question whether or not to buy the new iPhones but where to buy them. But before you and I both start running out to the stores, online and offline, to hunt for a copy, let’s look at some key updates of the world’s ‘most loved smartphone’ and find out how you get your hands on one.

    Key features of iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus

    3D Touch

    Better known as Force Touch, this pressure-sensitive feature is the most important new feature for the new iPhones. Called 3D Touch, consider this an improvement over Force Touch on Apple Watch and the MacBook. 3D Touch not only senses whether a surface pushed, it further detects two levels of pressure – soft and hard. Pressing softly on an app icon on the home screen launches a contextual menu of shortcuts related to the app and a harder press launches it. For example, applying a ‘lighter’ force to the camera app icon launches a ‘Quick Actions’ menu that includes frequently used options like taking a selfie or recording a video. Pressing harder on the app icon launches the camera. Other uses include writing a message directly to a contact and checking emails. At the event, the demo given by developer Pixeltoys on the Warhammer game was certainly impressive and other developers will certainly be thinking of more creative ways to incorporate 3D Touch in time to come.

    Quick Actions menu
    Quick Actions menu

    Camera

    The iPhone’s rear camera has been upgraded from 8 to 12 megapixels (finally!) is definitely good news for smartphone photographers like me. A lot of the videos we created on GrateNews are shot entirely with previous models of the iPhones. The front-facing camera has also been upgraded to 5-megapixel and can shoot out flash for a better exposed selfie. You can also shoot panoramic pictures and slow-mo videos with yourself in it now too using the front-facing camera.

    Although I am a little disappointed that Apple didn’t offer up a wider aperture lens, it is still a f/2.2 lens, Apple did make it up with a new sensor chip with ‘deep trench isolation’ technology. The technology ensures light captured by one pixel doesn’t interfere with the ones around it. Apple claims that the new sensor will be able to deliver more accurate colour and less noise when shooting in low-light conditions.

    Then there is also the odd Live Photos feature. Every picture you take with the new iPhone 6S or 6S Plus becomes a Live Photo that animates when you tap on it. Call it animated GIFs or ultra short video clips, these Live Photos are made possible by the camera app that now captures two additional shots at 1.5 seconds on either side of the actual photo you take to form the animation. And with the new 12-megapixel camera, all I can think of is how much more storage this feature is going to gobble up. That is not good for anyone considering the 16GB model iPhones. Let’s hope that there is a turn it ‘off’ button for this.

    Still, I am excited by the new iPhones’ ability to shoot 4k (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) videos.

    Design

    Nothing much to update here. Both iPhones looked exactly the same as the last generation iPhones. The iPhone 6s comes with a 4.7-inch screen while the iPhone 6s Plus is a 5.5-inch phalet. The phones are however slightly thicker than its predecessors, 0.2mm thicker to be exact. The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus is built with the 7000-series aluminum found in the Apple Watch. According to Apple, this special aluminium alloy developed by the Apple team is 60% stronger than most aluminium, increasing the strength of the enclosure and keeping it light.

    iPhone-6s-and-6s-Plus-colours

    Prices

    Apple adds a new rose-gold colour to its flagship smaptphones, offering more colour options to the existing gold, silver and space grey. The two new iPhones come in 16GB, 64GB and 128GB versions with the iPhone 6s going for S$1,048 for the 16GB version and the iPhone 6s Plus starting from S$1,218 for the 16GB model in Singapore.

    Where you can get it

    Pre-orders for the new iPhones starts from 12 September and is expected to arrive in Singapore on 25 September. In some Apple Online stores, the latest iPhone models are already listed as ‘Currently Unavailable’, so the window for you to get your hands on the first shipment of iPhone 6s or 6s Plus in Singapore could be closing fast. But with some luck, you might still be able to be one of the first few (or millions) owners of the spanking new iPhones at the following places.

    Apple Online Store

    This is still the most reliable way to order your new smartphones. If you manage to secure a unit through the pre-order link on the website, Apple will ship the phone to your doorstep on 25 September 2015. But be prepare to pay the full price without telco subsidy.

    Registration of interest with telcos

    All three telcos have started their registration of interest for the iPhones. Similar to previous years, the registration doesn’t guarantee you an iPhone. Here are the links to register you interest with the telcos in Singapore.

    Register your interest with Singtel
    Register your interest with M1
    Register your interest with StarHub

    starhub-registration-iPhone-6s-and-6s-Plus

    Queue at Apple Premium Resellers

    Lastly, you can do it the Singaporean way by queuing at one of the many Apple Premium Resellers like Epicentre, Nubox and Infinite as early as you can. In previous years, I have seen snaking queues forming a day before the arrival date of the iPhones at Tampines Mall’s Nubox.

    I want my new iPhone 6s but I am not quite ready to spend a day queuing and another 2 days fighting to recover from the exertion. So, whichever way you choose to obtain your new iPhones, I wish you the best of luck!

    iPhone 6s and 6s Plus
    L – R: iPhone 6s and 6s Plus

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      Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference 2015

      Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) will be held from 8 – 12 June this year, and as usual, there’s a lot of speculation as to what consumers can expect to see come out from the tech behemoth.

      We’re pretty excited by what’s to come, and we know you are too, so here’s the lowdown on what you can expect from the opening keynote of the WWDC.

      iOS 9

      iOS 9

      Apple typically uses the WWDC as the stage to showcase the major update of its popular mobile operating system. Expect this latest version of iOS to comprise of much under-the-hood improvements to stability, performance and security of the product. It’s much like how OS X Snow Leopard was released to improve the OS X Leopard experience. We should also be expecting a few new features in this version, but here are three of the more significant ones that are more or less confirmed.

      Proactive

      This is a new lifestyle management feature in the new update which is rumoured to replace the existing Spotlight search, and compete against Google Now. With Proactive, when you pull down the search bar and search for apps or contacts, it will display content from those apps based on contextual cues – such as flight details in Passbook or appointments in Calendar when the search is done at the appropriate time.

      Proactive also remembers users behaviours, and will also have, for example, the Mail app displayed on its screen first thing in the morning if it learns that the user checks his email at that time every day.

      Transit directions

      This is a huge leap forward for Apple’s Maps app. It really brings Apple Maps much closer to compete with Google Maps. We can certainly also expect Apple Watch integration for this new feature.

      Home app

      Home automation is the next big thing now, and HomeKit was announced at last year’s WWDC. This year, we should be able to see a dedicated Home app on the iPhone that will allow users to manage various HomeKit-compatible devices such as lights, locks and other home appliances.

      OS X 10.11

      OS X 10.11 is expected to boost performance and security features from OS X Yosemite

      Similar to iOS 9, this latest update Mac OS update will focus on stability and performance enhancement.

      Nothing much as been said on this front, except for two main things: the system font will be changed to “San Francisco” – same as that on the Apple Watch – for greater readability, and a quick access Control Center panel on the left edge of the screen for features similar to what users get from the bottom-up swipe on iOS devices.

      iTunes Music Streaming Service

      Will the long-awaited iTunes Music Streaming service kick off at this WWDC?

      This feature has been in the rumour mill for the longest time, especially since Apple acquired music company Beats last year. Without a doubt, Apple will be going after Spotify’s massive market share. What we’re curious to see is how Apple manages to offer greater value-added service and features that distinguishes itself from Spotify – it certainly has the existing experience and infrastructure in the music business to shake it up. Hopefully this doesn’t disappoint, like the much-criticised Tidal streaming service.

      iTunes Radio revamp

      This is supposed to complement the above mentioned music streaming service. It will be available for free, with supposedly more local content and new stations hosted by DJs.

      Native Apple Watch apps

      Apple Watch is set to get more native apps.

       

      The Apple Watch currently runs apps while paired with an iPhone, which could result in slower performance, and less than ideal usability. Developers at the WWDC will be provided with updated tools to allow them to develop apps that run natively on the Apple Watch. Expect these native apps to come to the Apple Watch later this year.

      Apple TV

      We’ve been waiting eons for an update to the Apple TV, and were fully expecting something to be announced at the WWDC, until a report on The New York Times poured cold water over this rumour. Seems like the product isn’t ready to see the light or day at this point. We’ll keep holding our breaths, but it’s likely we’ll get to see this later this year at a separate keynote event.

      Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference will be held at 0100hr on 9 June Singapore time. The opening keynote coverage will be streamed live on Apple TV. 

      Other alternatives to keep up with the keynote would be to follow the major tech live blogs.

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        Singapore Airlines refreshes mobile app (photo: Singapore Airlines)

        World class air carrier Singapore Airlines has given its mobile app a complete refresh, and we couldn’t be happier.

        Fans of the previous app (not sure if such individuals exist) will remember the old buggy interface, clunky controls and old-fashioned design, and will welcome this facelift with open arms.

        The first thing that struck us upon launching the app was its contemporary look. Aided by a captivating image on the homepage, its modern and minimalist design provides an uncomplicated start to using the app. Gone is the harsh blue scheme, and in comes a softer, earthy grey-brown theme.

        KrisFlyer members may log in to their accounts to view membership details such as current miles balance, and their expiry dates. There is also the option in-app for KrisFlyer miles redemption when booking a flight, which makes things extremely convenient.

        As a bonus, the Singapore Airlines app is also supported for Apple Watches. This makes perfect sense to us as it gives flyers an easy way to receive flight reminders, alerts for the opening of check-in counters and updates to the status of a flight. It also provides a seamless flexibility in being part of Singapore Airlines’ ecosystem, like never before.

        Singapore Airlines refreshes mobile app

        This, to us, is very exciting as we now have a fantastic new Singapore Airlines mobile app that finally matches up to its world class brand status.

        We understand that more features will be added to the app in time to come as Singapore Airlines ups their game to engage customers on the digital front. We also understand that a tablet version, which provides a more wholesome content offering, is also on the cards.

        Good move Singapore Airlines, we’ll be awaiting your full rollout in eager anticipation.

        The Singapore Airlines mobile app is available for free in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

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          FootballHero

          Disclaimer: GrateNews does not condone the use of this app for real gambling purposes.

          FootballHero is a new social football prediction game to hit the market, and it allows users to compete against friends, or global opponents by predicting football scores.

          Whether you’re a hardcore football fan, or just love sticking it to your friends, here is a list of reasons why you’ll love FootballHero.

          A new take on fantasy football

          We’re sure many of you are familiar with the fantasy league concept, where you choose a team of players and compete against your friends based on points scored by your selected players and how they perform in real life.

          Well, it’s the same thing here. Pick your predictions before the match, and pray hard you win. Players can check their rankings globally, as well as create private leagues to compete with friends.

          You love the idea of punting… without money

          Let’s not kid ourselves, people are risk takers. Some just don’t like gambling for various reasons – and one of the big reasons is putting our money at risk.

          So why not try this out? A virtual, gamified bookmaker that allows you the enjoyment of punting without the nightmare of putting your money on the line.

          FootballHero provides statistics on which team is favoured by players, as well as different punting categories

          You always give the, “I told you so” speech when it comes to football predictions

          Bragging rights are a big deal, especially among friends. Think you understand the game better than them?

          Make it official and set it in stone by challenging them on FootballHero. It’s a sure way for you to put to bed all doubt about your mastery of football predictions.

          You get to win an all-expense paid trip to the UEFA Champions League Finals in Berlin

          The headline just speaks for itself, doesn’t it? Apart from the private leagues you can set up to play against your friends (or frenemies), there will also be a FootballHero Championship. Global users will compete in weekly, monthly and overall season championship for prizes such as autographed memorabilia and game-work jerseys.

          And of course, the overall winner would get to fly to Berlin for the UEFA Champions League Finals.

          You’re a big fan of TradeHero

          As you  may know, FootballHero comes from the same guys who brought us TradeHero. So if you’ve played TradeHero and loved it for its gamified, yet realistic and educational trading simulation, then you’ll love FootballHero.

          It’s free

          Zilch, zero, nada cost.

          The FootballHero app is available for free on both iOS and Android devices.