Supposed Internal Memo Suggests October 10 Launch for iPhone 6 in China

Apple may be looking to launch the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in China on October 10, according to an internal Apple retail employee memo shared by Techweb (Google Translate). The memo also states that "prototype" iPhone 6 units will be put on store shelves starting October 7, allowing customers to experience both models before their launch three days later.

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It was reported earlier this month that Apple received one out of the two regulatory licenses needed to sell the iPhone 6 in China. China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) is said to be performing the review, and would need to give Apple a critical regulatory license before the device goes on sale

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Meanwhile, a report from Bloomberg states that the country's largest carrier, China Mobile, would be taking steps to eliminate $2 billion in smartphone subsidies for customers. The move would double the total cost of handsets like the iPhone over two years, with the up-front cost of the device decreasing while service contracts increase

China has become a growing market for Apple throughout the past few years, as the company has opened a variety of new stores and pushed iPhone sales through China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, which are country's three biggest carriers. An October launch for the iPhone 6 in China would also be positive for Apple's important holiday quarter, which usually sees the company pushing to increase its sales in all of its markets before the end of the year.

Apple Ceases Signing iOS 7.1.2, Downgrading No Longer Possible

ios_7_iconAs of today, Apple has stopped signing the iOS 7.1.2 firmware, which will prevent users from downgrading from iOS 8 back to iOS 7 (via iClarified). This means that users who are unhappy with the changes that iOS 8 have brought or unsatisfied with bugs introduced with the update will be unable to downgrade back to iOS 7.1.2.

Apple's decision to stop signing iOS 7.1.2 is not unusual, as the company often stops signing prior versions of iOS shortly after the release of a new version of iOS. iOS 8, the latest Apple mobile operating system, was released to the public on September 17.

iOS 7.1.2 does, however, remain available for iPhone 4 users, as the iOS 8 operating system can only be installed on the iPhone 4s and later.

Released on June 30, iOS 7.1.2 is the latest version of iOS 7, which included minor bug fixes, security improvements, and a fix for an email attachment encryption issue.

Apple's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Quickly Dominate Japanese Smartphone Sales

Apple's new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus handsets are dominating the Japanese market in their first week of sales, reports Forbes, which cited weekly sales rankings provided by Japan's BCN. iPhone sales were boosted by carrier Softbank, which edged out KDDI and NTT DoCoMo as the top wireless provider and accounted for 42.9 percent of weekly iPhone sales. According to the tracking, individual iPhone models took the top 18 spots in sales for the week.

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The iPhone 6 was the most popular iPhone version, displacing competitors and the company's own the iPhone 5s and 5c handsets, which previously topped the list for the month of August. According to BCN, the relative split between iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models was roughly 82 percent to 18 percent, with the smaller iPhone 6 seeing much greater sales than the larger model.
BCN tracks smartphones on a weekly and monthly basis, and in its latest weekly rankings the iPhone 6 took 8 of the top 10 spots with the iPhone 5s taking 5th and 8th place. The iPhone 6 Plus’ highest ranking was 11th and it has a fairly strong showing taking 5 of the next 7 spots.

Apple’s success compares to the month of August where the iPhone 5s took the 3rd and 4th positions and the 5c captured the 6th, 7th and 10th positions.
A similar dominance of the iPhone 6 was observed in US metrics with the iPhone 6 far outpacing the bigger iPhone 6 Plus. Much of this disparity may be the result of supply constraints affecting the availability of iPhone 6 Plus handsets, making it much harder for customers to find the models in retail stores and online.

Apple began selling the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus on September 19 and sold a record-breaking ten million handsets in the first weekend of sales. Demand for the handset remains high with minimum ship times of seven to ten days for most iPhone 6 models and three to four weeks for iPhone 6 Plus versions.

Related roundup: iPhone 6

iPhone 6 Touch ID Still Vulnerable to Specialized Fake Fingerprint Hack

Apple has done little to improve security in the Touch ID technology used in its current iPhone 6 handset, claims security researcher Marc Rogers of Lookout Security (via CNET). As shown by Rogers, the latest iPhone models are vulnerable to hacking using the same fake fingerprint technique first demonstrated with the iPhone 5s.

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The technique requires a hacker to lift a suitable fingerprint from a solid surface and create a copy using forensic techniques that require specialized equipment. If done properly, these replica fingerprints can activate the Touch ID sensors on both the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 5s.
Sadly there has been little in the way of measurable improvement in the sensor between these two devices. Fake fingerprints created using my previous technique were able to readily fool both devices.
Rogers adds that the only changes in Touch ID appear to be in the sensitivity of the iPhone 6 fingerprint sensor, with the iPhone 6 possibly supporting a higher resolution scan. This improved scanner makes it harder for a fingerprint to be cloned by an unskilled criminal, but it does not add any additional security precautions, such as a time-based passcode requirement, to the Touch ID authentication system.

Touch ID may offer adequate security for unlocking phones, but Rogers questions its effectiveness as a deterrent to the much more lucrative credit card and mobile payment theft. With Apple opening up its iPhone 6 to mobile payments with Apple Pay, the potential for this form of theft becomes more likely as criminals begin targeting iPhone users in order to exploit these mobile transactions. Still, the complexity of creating a fake fingerprint means users are much more likely to be affected by a stolen plastic credit card than a spoofed Touch ID fingerprint linked to Apple Pay.
[T]he sky isnt falling. The attack requires skill, patience, and a really good copy of someone’s fingerprint — any old smudge won’t work. Furthermore, the process to turn that print into a useable copy is sufficiently complex that it’s highly unlikely to be a threat for anything other than a targeted attack by a sophisticated individual.
Apple Pay is Apple's new mobile payment initiative that will debut with an iOS software update next month. The system uses NFC to process payments wirelessly with a one-time token and Touch ID authorization for security. Apple is partnering with credit card companies and US retailers including Walgreens, Macy's, and Nike to roll out the service.

Related roundup: iPhone 6

iPhone 6 Plus Bending Limits Tested in New Video

Earlier today, we shared several photos and videos from iPhone 6 Plus users who accidentally bent their iPhones when carrying the device in their pockets, mere days after the phone's initial launch.

Following this morning's news, YouTube video maker Lewis Hilsenteger of Unbox Therapy created a video exploring just how much an iPhone 6 Plus will bend when subjected to force. Using his hands, Hilsenteger bends the iPhone 6 Plus as much as he can, with significant warping showing up near the device's volume buttons.


The force placed on the iPhone 6 Plus in the video is unlikely to be replicated in a pocket, but as several photos have demonstrated in our earlier post, it does not take much force to cause a slight curvature in the device. The iPhone 6 Plus does, however, remain functional after bending, but as noted by Hilsenger on Twitter, the device screen cracked when he attempted to bend it back into shape.

Bending issues are not limited to the iPhone 6 Plus, as previous generations of the iPhone, including the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 5s have also seen complaints of bending after being subjected to a pocket.

Apple has not yet commented on the iPhone 6 Plus bending incidents, but iPhone 6 Plus owners can likely prevent bending by removing the phone from their pockets before sitting or bending, or by placing the device in a rigid protective case.

'iPod Father' Tony Fadell Comments on Discontinuation of iPod Classic

Tony Fadell, who formerly worked at Apple and is widely known as the "father" of the iPod, today commented on the recent discontinuation of the iPod Classic in an interview with Fast Company, saying that he's "sad to see it go."
"The iPod's been a huge part of my life for the last decade. The team that worked on the iPod poured literally everything into making it what it was." Eighteen months after launch, the iPod owned the portable media player category, and for the next decade, it continued to do so. "Products just don't come around like that often," laments Fadell. "The iPod was one-in-a-million."
Though he's sad to see the end of the iPod, Fadell notes that the product was "born to die," with employees speculating in 2003 or 2004 what would kill the device. "Even back then, at Apple," says Fadell, "we knew it was streaming. We called it the 'celestial jukebox in the sky.' And we have that now: music in the cloud."

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The final iPod classic was introduced in September of 2009, and rumors of a discontinuation of the product circulated for years before Apple retired the device in September of 2014. Following the announcements for the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, and the Apple Watch on September 9, Apple removed the iPod classic from its online store.

Apple's iPod sales have been dwindling for the last several years, and in January, Tim Cook noted that the iPod was a "declining business" for Apple. As of Q3 2014, the iPod made up just one percent of Apple's total revenue, being dwarfed many times over by the iPhone and iPad, both of which have adopted the iPod's music playing capabilities.

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Capable of Faster Charging Using iPad 2.1A Adapter

Apple's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus ship with higher capacity batteries that deliver exceptional battery life, but as pointed out by iLounge and MacRumors forum members, the two new iPhone models can also charge significantly faster when used with an iPad charging adapter rather than the smaller adapter included with the iPhones.

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According to preliminary tests using a Kill-A-Watt device and OS X system information, the charging profile for the iPhone 6 and the 6 Plus match that of the iPad, allowing them to charge using 2.1A. Unlike earlier iPhone models which would only draw 5W regardless of the charger being used, the new phones are capable of drawing up to 12W, allowing them to charge at a faster rate. Early feedback from owners suggest the larger iPhone 6 Plus can charge fully in approximately two hours from an iPad adapter.

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iPhone 5s (l) versus iPhone 6 Plus (r) charging profiles in OS X system report

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus include the standard square 1A/5W charging block that shipped with previous iPhone models. To obtain these faster charging rates, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners may use the 2.1A/12W charger from the iPad or the high-power USB port of a newer model Mac.

Related roundup: iPhone 6

iPhone 6 Adoption Easily Outpacing iPhone 6 Plus

Apple's iPhone 6 Plus may be the most talked about iPhone model due to its larger screen and bigger battery, but early adoption rate metrics (via Mashable), suggest more customers are choosing the smaller iPhone 6 over its bigger counterpart. How much of the difference is due to customer preference versus constrained supplies of the larger model is unknown, however.

According to ad impression data provided by Chitika, the adoption rate for the iPhone 6 is more than 7x higher than the iPhone 6 Plus. On the Monday following launch, the smaller iPhone accounted for 1.5 percent of North American web traffic, compared to 0.2 percent for the iPhone 6 Plus.

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Mixpanel, which measures mobile app usage, reports similar results with the iPhone 6 reaching 2.72 percent of measured traffic and the iPhone 6 Plus trailing with 0.54 percent. Mobile analytics firm Fiksu provides a third set of mobile metrics that also suggest the iPhone 6 is more popular among launch day iPhone purchasers.

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Chitika explains these results by suggesting that the iPhone 6 Plus may be less popular among consumers because it is niche product due to its larger screen size. Supply constraints also may be a factor, with the iPhone 6 Plus selling out quickly online and reportedly being available only in limited amounts this weekend in stores.

Related roundup: iPhone 6

Instapaper Updated for iOS 8 With Enhanced Saving Features, Now Free to Download

Popular read-it-later app Instapaper today received a significant update for iOS 8, bringing a redesigned user interface, enhanced saving capabilities, and deeper integration with notifications. The app is also now available for free, as users also have the option to pay for premium features.

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Users can now save content to Instapaper from any application that supports iOS' built-in share functionality by way of a new app extension. The app also includes text-to-speech functionality, and curates saved articles in iOS 8's Notification Center on a daily basis. A $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year subscription to Instapaper Premium unlocks a number of other features, including full-text search, unlimited highlighting in articles, and text-to-speech playlists.

Instapaper is a free app for iOS devices and can be downloaded from the App Store. [Direct Link]

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Out-Of-Warranty Repairs Cost Up to $299/$329

With the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus now available to customers, Apple has updated its support information to include U.S. repair pricing for the two devices. While all new devices include a standard one year warranty that can be extended with AppleCare+, the standard warranty does not cover accidental damage.

Repairs for screen damage, which includes cracked or shattered displays, will cost $109 for the iPhone 6 and $129 for the iPhone 6 Plus, along with a $6.95 shipping fee.

Accidental damage (water damage, for example) or out-of-warranty damage to an iPhone will require users to pay a fee of $299 for the iPhone 6 or $329 for the iPhone 6 Plus, along with the $6.95 shipping fee. That’s far more affordable than the cost of a new device, but it is still more expensive than iPhone 5s repairs, which are priced at $269.

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Apple also quotes a $79 flat fee for a battery replacement, but devices that have a defective battery will be eligible for free repairs for the entirety of the one year warranty that comes standard with iOS devices.

Apple does offers AppleCare+, which covers two incidents of accidental damage for a $79 service fee each time, cutting down on the cost of a replacement device. AppleCare+ is available directly from Apple for $99 in the United States.

Buyer's Guide: List of Cases for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

With the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus in the hands of millions of customers as of today, many users will be looking to purchase cases for their new devices. Despite the fact that the phones were just released, there are already quite a few options on the market as many case makers began preparing cases for the devices months ago.

We've rounded up some of the available iPhone 6 and 6 Plus cases below, with options ranging from ultra thin and light to those that offer complete protection.

Spigen - Spigen has a range of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus cases available, each offering varying degrees of protection. The Tough Armor case, for example, advertises "extreme" protection with a foldable kickstand, while the Air Skin is advertised as the thinnest case ever made at 0.4mm thick. Spigen's cases range in price from $14.99 to $34.99, with most shipping out in 7 to 10 business days. Spigen's range of cases can also be found on Amazon at somewhat lower prices.

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Otterbox - Otterbox has a selection of cases for both the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, including the ultra protective Defender series, which is a three-layer rugged case designed to offer full protection for the iPhone's display. The Defender series is bulky, so Otterbox also offers the thinner Symmetry line and the Commuter series. Priced from $39.90 to $69.90, Otterbox plans to make its cases available soon.

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Apple - Apple is selling its own line of cases, specifically designed to complement the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Cases are available in leather and silicone, in several different colors. Apple's cases are available through the Apple online store or through its retail stores beginning today. Prices range from $35 to $49.

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Speck - Speck is selling several different cases designed for the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, with prices ranging from $40 to $45. The traditional CandyShell case is available in multiple variations, including a Grip version that makes the iPhone easier to hold, an Inked version that comes with high-res graphics, and the Card version that has room for a credit card and cash. Speck also has the MightyShell case, which offers extra protection. Some variations are in stock immediately, while others are coming soon.

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Case-Mate - Case-Mate has a selection of particularly flashy cases available for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, with designs ranging from gold glitter to a carbon alloy in a diamond design. Case-Mate also has a few less flashy cases available, including the Barely There case that's designed to be thin and the Slim Tough Case that includes a shock-resistant bumper. Case-Mate's cases are available now and range in price from $20 to $80.

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Incipio - Incipio has a huge selection of cases for both the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, most of which are thin and affordable. The company's well-known Feather case, for example is thin and lightweight, constructed from polycarbonate with an EVA interior liner. Another case, the DualPro, is slightly thicker but provides two layers for extra protection. Incipio's cases range in price from $20 to $45.

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Society6 - Society6 takes a blank iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus case (in slim or "tough") and customizes it with one of hundreds of images. Designs run the gamut from scenic vistas to abstract art to silly pictures like a panda in an astronaut suit or a llama in a taxi. Cases are priced at $35 to $38.

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Groupon - Groupon has several iPhone 6 and 6 Plus cases from a variety of manufacturers that are available for pre-order at discounted prices. Custom cases that are user-designed from MyCustomCase can be purchased for $20, a $25 savings. Groupon has a pre-order for the iHome Folio available for the iPhone 6 for $12.99, and the iHome Sheer case for the iPhone 6 for $9.99.

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Groupon also has the MOTA iPhone 6 Protective case available for pre-order for $9.99, down from $39.99, and it also has the Aduro BookCase Folio and Wallet Case for iPhone 6/6 Plus for $11.99. Finally, Groupon has a deal on the PRESS PLAY 3,100 mAh battery case for the iPhone 6, offering it for $39.99 down from $99.99.

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MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors.

Apple Utilizing Own Content Delivery Network to Help Deliver iOS 8 Update

According to data from internet research firm DeepField, Apple relied on its content delivery network along with Akamai and Limelight to handle the rollout of iOS 8 publicly this week (via The Wall Street Journal). The release of iOS 8 caused web traffic to more than double in some areas as millions of iOS users rushed to update their iOS devices.

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“It really was a significant coming out party for the Apple CDN,” DeepField Chief Executive Craig Labovitz said. “This is definitely a realization that Apple is not just a software player. They’re not just a maker of PCs. They have an Internet backbone and an international Internet presence.”
Apple has not commented publicly on its content delivery network, but the company reportedly has been working on the network for several years. The CDN was believed to have gone live in the US and Europe in July of this year when Apple used the network to deliver smaller OS X updates.

In the future, the CDN likely will be used to delivery software updates, such as the upcoming OS X Yosemite release, to customers worldwide. Apple also is expected to gradually migrate its iTunes and App Store away from Akamai and other Level 3 CDNs as it strives to deliver data reliably to its customers by bringing this content delivery under its direct control.