Apple Offering Pre-Approvals to iPhone Upgrade Program Customers Ahead of iPhone 8

Apple has emailed customers enrolled in its iPhone Upgrade Program with instructions on how to get a head start on the iPhone 8 pre-order process.



Apple advises customers to open the Apple Store app on their current iPhone, choose their preferred iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus model, and get pre-approved for an iPhone Upgrade Program loan. The window to get pre-approved ends tomorrow, Thursday, September 14, at 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time.

Pre-approved customers can then return to the Apple Store app when iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus pre-orders begin on Friday, September 15 at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time to complete the process.

This year, it appears that iPhone Upgrade Program members will be able to use a Trade-in Kit with a prepaid shipping label to return their old iPhone to Apple, rather than being forced to visit an Apple Store to complete the upgrade process. The mail-in option should make this year’s launch a less frustrating experience.

While the iPhone X is Apple’s new flagship smartphone, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus shipping estimates could become lengthy soon after pre-orders begin, so getting pre-approved is highly recommended.

Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program lets customers upgrade to a new iPhone after they have made at least 12 payments towards their current iPhone and trade it in upon upgrading. The full cost of the iPhone and included AppleCare+ coverage is spread out over 24 months with zero percent interest.

Here’s the monthly cost breakdown for the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X in the United States. The program is also available in the UK.



At this time, the pre-approval process doesn’t appear to apply to the iPhone X, which can’t be ordered until Friday, October 27.

(Thanks, Timothy!)

Related Roundups: iPhone 8, iPhone X
Tag: iPhone Upgrade Program

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Disney Is the Only Major Hollywood Studio Not Backing Apple’s Plan to Sell 4K Films at $20

Apple yesterday revealed the Apple TV 4K, a new set-top box that will bring all the features of the fourth-generation Apple TV, along with the ability to stream 4K HDR video content. This includes iTunes 4K movies, which the company confirmed will be sold for the same price as HD movies at $20 apiece. Users will even be able to gain access to 4K movies they've already purchased in HD at no extra charge.

When it made this announcement, Apple showed off a list of Hollywood studios during the keynote that will support 4K movies on iTunes at this price: 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate, Paramount, Sony, Warner Bros., and Universal Pictures. In a new report today, The Wall Street Journal noted that the major absence among this list is Disney.

The one absence from Apple’s list of big studios selling movies in UHD is Disney. It wasn’t immediately clear why the company behind Star Wars and Marvel couldn’t reach an arrangement with Apple. It currently sells its films in 4K on other digital stores, such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc.‘s Vudu, for $24.99.

Disney’s absence is particularly notable given a longstanding close relationship between the two companies. Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger is on Apple’s board of directors and Disney was the first studio to sell television shows and movies on iTunes.
Apple is said to have made deals with these studios so that 4K films would not rise above $20, but a few weeks ago it was reported that some studios were vying for $25-$30 for each 4K movie on iTunes. It isn't currently clear why Disney films -- which include Marvel and Star Wars -- won't be available in 4K on iTunes, but the WSJ pointed out that Disney currently sells its films in 4K on apps like Vudu, but at a higher price of $24.99. If talks fell through with Apple, that price tag is likely the reason why.

Apple's negotiations with participating studios reportedly went down to the wire, ending just weeks ahead of the September 12 reveal of the Apple TV 4K. Some studios are also said to still be interested in offering movies on platforms like iTunes just weeks after they debut in theaters, suggesting time frames and prices like 17 days after a theatrical debut for $50, or four to six weeks from release for $30. These talks are still ongoing and it remains to be seen if Apple and iTunes would ultimately take part in such a feature.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10
Tag: Disney
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)

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New Interview Reveals More Details About Upcoming tvOS/iOS Social Adventure Game ‘Sky’

Game developer thatgamecompany appeared on stage at the Apple Event yesterday with a title that will be launching exclusively on the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV soon, called Sky. The game is described as a "social adventure" where players navigate a world in the clouds alongside their friends, and marks thatgamecompany's first game in five years, since 2012's Journey.


Journey was a game that automatically matched players with random other people online throughout the adventure, but it was impossible to join up with a specific friend. In its press release for the game, along with a new interview with president and creative director Jenova Chen, thatgamecompany explained that many fans wrote them after Journey and asked for "a game where they could play together" with friends and family members.

The idea of a wider audience playing the game on smartphones, not just video game consoles, led the developer to launch Sky mobile first and exclusively on Apple devices. This will make it easier to play the game with others, and thatgamecompany said it is "a game specially created to be played, and shared, among loved ones and family." During the keynote, the company confirmed that up to eight players from anywhere in the world can play together at a time.

We wanted as many people to love games, and so we were encouraged to explore this idea at thatgamecompany. Which brings our games, for the first time, to mobile – a platform that many have access to, the world over.

It’s hard to explain the game, but a good place would be to say that Sky is a game specially created to be played, and shared, among loved ones and family. If you can imagine the delight of visiting a theme park where lasting memories are made, we envision Sky will sometimes feel like that.
In a six-minute interview with Geoff Keighley, thatgamecompany president and creative director Jenova Chen -- who was on stage during Apple's keynote -- said that it's "difficult" to summarize the entire game, but many of its mechanics surround "giving" to and helping out other players. Sky is set in a "whimsical" world above the clouds, where a great civilization once resided but is currently in ruins. Chen mentioned that the idea behind this world and the game as a whole was to build a theme park of sorts, where players can return daily and spend minutes or hours discovering new lands alone or with friends.


He also hinted at frequent updates and changes coming to the world, stating that it is "constantly evolving" and when players return there might be new places and sections of the world that open up that weren't there before. Because of the consistent additions and new discoveries happening in the game, Chen compared Sky to a television series that players can return to and experience new chapters in the story and game environment.

A specific release date and price point for Sky have still not been revealed by thatgamecompany, but Chen mentioned that it should arrive on tvOS and iOS "this winter." The company encourages those interested to stay up-to-date on development through a newsletter sign-up than can be found on the game's webpage.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)

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iPhone X vs. 8 and 8 Plus: Display Sizes, Cameras, Battery Life, Face ID vs. Touch ID, and Other Tech Specs

Apple on Tuesday hosted its first-ever event at Steve Jobs Theater, where it unveiled the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X.


iPhone X is Apple's new flagship smartphone, with a stainless steel frame sandwiched between a nearly edge to edge OLED display on the front and glass on the back. iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus also received a glass-backed design, but otherwise the devices look virtually the same as the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

iPhone X starts at $999 in the United States, while the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus start at $699 and $799 respectively.

If cost wasn't a factor, the iPhone X is undoubtedly the better smartphone in more ways than one. But the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are very capable smartphones as well, so when there is at least $200 or $300 in savings to be had, it's worth considering which of the three smartphones best suits your needs. Find out ahead… Continue reading "iPhone X vs. 8 and 8 Plus: Display Sizes, Cameras, Battery Life, Face ID vs. Touch ID, and Other Tech Specs"

Doubts and Speculation Surround Apple’s Onstage Face ID ‘Fail’ During iPhone X Keynote

Yesterday at a media event held in Apple Park, Apple announced its much-anticipated all-screen 5.8-inch iPhone X, which features a next-generation facial authentication system called Face ID for unlocking the smartphone in lieu of a home button with Touch ID.

During the keynote at the Steve Jobs Theater, Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi took to the stage to demo Face ID. However, much to his chagrin, the facial recognition technology appeared to fail at his first attempt to unlock the iPhone X, forcing Federighi to switch to a backup device to get the demo moving.


Some observers have leapt on the moment as an indication that Face ID is unreliable or a yet-to-be-perfected technology that's unfit to replace Touch ID fingerprint authentication. Vice News even went so far as to link the onstage incident to a sudden drop in Apple's share price. Since the demo aired, however, three competing theories have been put forward to explain the apparent "failure".

One theory is that Apple has adopted the same reboot security measure on the iPhone X that is found on iPhones with Touch ID, and this is what stalled Federighi's Face ID demo. The moment when he tries to unlock the iPhone X with his face, a closer look at the presentation screen reveals the words "Your passcode is required to enable Face ID". As several contributors on Quora have pointed out, a similar message is seen when an iPhone with Touch ID is first switched on, or if the phone hasn't been used in the last 48 hours.

This suggests someone forgot to enter the passcode on Federighi's iPhone X after a reboot. But if that were the case, the message likely should have stated, "Face ID requires your passcode when iPhone restarts", which more accurately reflects the equivalent message Touch ID phones display after a reboot.


Another theory put forward is that several unsuccessful attempts had already been made to unlock the device prior to the onstage demo, since Federighi only tries to authenticate Face ID twice before the passcode screen appears, whereas Touch ID takes five consecutive failed attempts before requiring a passcode. It's possible, but unlikely, and doesn't really explain the two failed tries witnessed by the audience.

The third, more concerning explanation, of course, is that Face ID simply failed to recognize the Apple executive, suggesting the feature has accuracy issues that the company is still working to resolve. Indeed, while Face ID was generally lauded by the media during hands-on iPhone X demonstrations after the keynote, at least one journalist reported "plenty of missed unlocks", and even problems activating Face ID that were only resolved after repeatedly turning the display off and on again, which they called "a little worrying". A similar issue may have befell Federighi on stage.

Apple claims Face ID can recognize a user's face under a variety of conditions and in poor light, despite everyday changes in appearance, such as applied make-up or beard growth. It is also said to boast a mismatch error rate of 1 in 1,000,000, compared to 1 in 50,000 for Touch ID, thanks to multiple neural networks built into the iPhone X's dual-core A11 bionic neural engine. With the iPhone X officially up for pre-order on October 27, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating.

Related Roundups: iPhone 8, iPhone X
Tag: Face ID

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UK Network EE Will Offer £5 a Month Cellular Tariff for LTE-Capable Apple Watch Series 3

EE will be the exclusive mobile network in the U.K. to offer a tariff for the new LTE-capable Apple Watch Series 3 when it begins shipping later this month.

Announced at Apple's media event on Tuesday, the latest version of the smartwatch contains an eSIM that can connect to a 4G LTE network so users can make and receive calls on their wrist, while watchOS apps can make use of the mobile data connection while untethered from an iPhone.


According to the BBC's Dave Lee, the EE tariff for the Apple Watch Series 3 will be £5 per month for existing EE iPhone contract holders, with the calling function on the watch using the same number as the owner's phone.

EE customers will be able to sign up for the new tariff when the Series 3 Apple Watch becomes available for pre-order on September 15, costing £399 with cellular connectivity and £329 without. Orders for the new watch are expected to arrive on September 22, which is the official launch date of the device.


Apple only mentioned EE as a U.K. carrier for the Apple Watch Series 3 during its media event yesterday, but it's likely that other U.K. networks will offer their own tariffs as the market for the LTE smartwatch matures.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 3, watchOS 4
Tags: EE, United Kingdom
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Don't Buy)

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32GB Storage Option Now Available for iPhone 7 in Jet Black Color, Starting at $549

Apple has added a new 32GB storage capacity option to the Jet Black iPhone 7 as part of a shake-up to its existing smartphone line-up, putting the glossy finish at the more affordable entry point of $549 for the 4.7-inch version, with a 128GB option now going for $649.

The iPhone 7 Plus is also now available in Jet Black at 32GB and 128GB for $669 and $769, respectively. At the same time, Apple has discontinued the 256GB option for the iPhone 7 in any color across the board.

Apple originally offered the Jet Black iPhone 7 at launch at 128GB and 256GB capacities, starting at $749 and $849 respectively, but didn't offer the cheaper 32GB option that the other colors are available in. That put a $100 premium on the glossy finish, pricing out more budget-conscious smartphone customers, but it looks as if Apple has had a change of mind.


As part of its existing iPhone range shake-up, Apple has also discontinued its its (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models. Apple's (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were first introduced in March of 2017, six months after the debut of the iPhone 7.

(Thanks, Anna!)

Related Roundup: iPhone 7

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Apple Watch Series 3 Battery Lasts Up to 18 Hours, But Varies Based on Activity

Apple says its Apple Watch Series 3 offers "all-day battery life" with 18 hours of usage, but in some cases, the LTE model's battery will drain more quickly.

The 18-hour usage metric includes 90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of app use, and a 30-minute workout with music playback, and on the LTE model, it includes 4 hours of LTE connection and 14 hours of connection to iPhone via Bluetooth.


When talking on the Apple Watch or working out, though, battery life is shorter when using an LTE connection.

The Series 3 Apple Watch offers 1 hour of battery life when talking to someone on the phone over LTE, or three hours when connected to the iPhone.

For audio playback when connected to the iPhone, the Apple Watch battery will last for up to 10 hours, which is an improvement over the Series 2 (6.5 hours). Apple does not mention how long the battery will last when listening to music over an LTE connection, but the Apple Watch Series 3 will support streaming from Apple Music without an iPhone.

When it comes to workouts, the Apple Watch battery will last for up to 10 hours during an indoor workout with an iPhone nearby, but that number drops for an outdoor workout sans iPhone. With just GPS activated, the battery in the Series 3 Apple Watch will last for five hours (the same battery life as the Series 2 with GPS on), and when connected to LTE and GPS the battery will last for four hours during an outdoor workout.

According to Apple, the Apple Watch Series 3 will charge to 80 percent in one and a half hours and 100 percent in two hours using the included Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Cable. These charging numbers are identical to the Apple Watch Series 2.

Apple's Series 3 Apple Watch models will be available for pre-order on September 15, with the device launching on September 22. Pricing starts at $329 for non-LTE models, and $399 for LTE models.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 3, watchOS 4
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Don't Buy)

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Charitybuzz Auctioning Off Vintage ‘Schoolsky’ Apple-1 Computer

Charitybuzz today launched an auction for a rare Apple-1 computer known as the "Schoolsky" Apple-1. The Schoolsky Apple-1 earned its name from Adam Schoolsky, who was gifted the computer by Steve Wozniak when he worked at Apple. It was never sold to the public.

David Larson, who purchased the computer from Adam Schoolsky in 1994, is selling it via Charitybuzz. The Apple-1 was constructed by Steve Wozniak and it is in working condition.


It comes with an original Apple-1 operation manual, original box, Apple-1 Cassette Interface Card and early cassette, an original advertisement for the Apple-1, three issues of 1970s magazine the Silicon Gulch Gazette, a conference program for the first West Coast Computer Faire, a letter from Adam Schoolsky to David Larson, a drawing from original Apple employee Ron Wayne, and more.


The Apple-1 Cassette Interface Card in particular is a rare find with an Apple-1, as most of the surviving machines do not include it. The card is designed to allow the Apple-1 to be connected to a cassette recorder.


Back when the company was first founded, Apple made 175 Apple-1 machines by hand. Only 50 to 60 of the machines still exist today, and just a handful of those are functional.

Previous Apple-1 auctions have brought in up to $905,000. The last Charitybuzz auction for an Apple-1, the "Celebration" model, sold for $815,000.

A portion of the proceeds from the Charitybuzz auction will benefit the Foundation for Amateur International Radio Service, aka FAIRS. Founded in 1991, FAIRS educates citizens about disaster preparedness and provides radio equipment and technology for areas in need.
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Apple’s New iPhone Lineup: SE for $349, 6s for $449, 7 for $549, 8 for $699, X for $999

With the introduction of the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, Apple has lowered its prices on previous iPhone models, introducing a new iPhone lineup that offers devices at a range of different price points.

The 4-inch iPhone SE continues to be Apple's most affordable iPhone, but it has a new lower price point. Pricing on the iPhone SE starts at $349 for the 32GB version and goes up to $449 for the 128GB version. With carrier financing, prices start at $14.55 per month.


The iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus are the middle-tier devices, available in 32 and 128GB capacities. Pricing on the iPhone 6s starts at $449 ($18.71/month with carrier financing), while pricing on the iPhone 6s Plus starts at $549 ($22.88/month with carrier financing).


Apple is continuing to offer the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, also in 32 and 128GB capacities. Pricing on the iPhone 7 starts at $549 ($22.80/month with carrier financing) and pricing on the iPhone 7 Plus starts at $669 ($27.88/month with carrier financing).


Apple's new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are available in 64 and 256GB capacities. The iPhone 8 is priced at $699 for the 64GB model and $849 for the 256GB model. With the iPhone Upgrade Program, prices start at $34.50 per month.


The iPhone 8 Plus is priced at $799 for the 64GB model and $949 for the 256GB model. With the iPhone Upgrade Program, prices start at $39.50 per month.

The iPhone X is the new flagship high-end iPhone, available in 64 and 256GB capacities. The 64GB iPhone X is priced at $999, or $49.91 per month with the iPhone Upgrade Program, while the 256GB model is priced at $1,149 or $56.16 per month with the iPhone Upgrade Program.


The iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus will be available for pre-order on Friday, September 15, with the devices launching on September 22. The iPhone X will be available for pre-order on October 27 ahead of a November 3 launch.


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