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The tech industry today, has evolved into being dominated by three big players – Apple, Google & Microsoft. In fact, Apple  – for a short amount of time – was even the most valuable company on the planet. Its safe to call these three one of the most valuable firms in the world. But everything that goes up, must come down and the question arises, which of these 3 will fall first ?

Apple

When seen independently, its plainly obvious that Apple holds a higher position in the average consumer’s minds among the three. Right from the moment Steve Jobs released the very first iPod, the company has been synonymous with quality and style to such an extent that the second biggest phone manufacturer tried to rip off their designs to become the second best.

That being said, Apple is facing a turn around in fortunes. Sales of its products, besides the iPhone have been dwindling in the past few months. The Apple Watch was the first new product from the company that didn’t set the market alight. Market share and sales of the iPad have been falling steadily and Macbooks – though revered – were never a major player.

If you feel we’re over estimating the decline, consider how far Apple has deviated in the past few years from its strategy the decade before. Apple products were top of the line, but today, every product has a cheaper version ( iPad mini, iPhone SE). The iPad even released a version with a stylus, something Steve Jobs was dead set against, as commonly known. Everything that shines, isn’t gold apparently.

Google

The company that started as a search engine and has expanded into areas as far as driver-less cars, has made Google into the the biggest brand today. Could you imagine your life with Google today? Imagine going to a new place and finding your way without Google Maps, or looking for information without a Google search. The company has become indispensable in today’s time. The icing on the cake being most of these services, aren’t charged.

This also brings along, a flip side – how does Google earn? While it is known as a web search company, in reality Google is an advertising company. If you doubt, have a look at its revenue distribution:

One way to understand Google’s business model is: Google doesn’t sell products, it sells consumers. As a marketing company, it earns its revenue by showing its consumers advertisements. The more Google products we use, the more information it has about us, the more targeted ads it can show us. The better its advertising network, the higher the ad premium. The plus side being, Google practically owns the internet advertising monopoly. There isn’t a competitor around that hold a candle to Google.

At present, there isn’t anyone who can dethrone Google from the top of its pyramid. This might change in a few years however, as most analysts predict voice to become the new medium by which we use the internet and adverting on voice search is not as easy as advertising on a webpage. Imagine you asking your phone’s AI to search for the nearest coffee shop and it plays out a 30 second ad before giving you the result, who would use such a service? Advertising in the future will look very different – if at all it lasts into the future with the increased use of Ad Blockers.

It would seem that Google is the most vulnerable at this point, but we need to consider one more aspect of the company, its flexibility. Google is one of the rare behemoths that has been able to read the changing times and is willing to change with it. One of them is it identified correctly the rise of smartphones and invested early. Even today, the company is expanding into driver-less cars, content creation(YouTube), AR with Google Glass and cardboard and even the more conventional product with the Google Pixel & Chromebooks.

Microsoft

Finally we come to the company at the root of the technological revolution. Most people today, would consider Microsoft of a bygone era with only one successful product in its bag – Windows. However, considering that Windows almost commands a monopoly in desktop OSes, one would be naive to write them off. Sure, it has many other products that haven’t been able to match up to their competition, but the company has one advantage the other two in this list don’t – diversity.

Microsoft’s revenue today is not dependent on any one product or service. Using its reputation at the turn of the century, the company has expanded into a host of domains. As a comparison, we present the revenue streams of Microsoft against Apple.

Just by looking at the 3 revenue distribution graphs, we can plainly see Microsoft as the only company that doesn’t depend on just one product to survive. This is the reason they’ve survived multiple failures in the past including Windows Vista, Windows 8, Windows Phone. If you noticed, Windows is supposed to be their golden egg laying goose right ? Yet, 3 iteration failures in under a decade did not even dent their revenue. This alone, in my opinion proves beyond doubt which the strongest company is, among the tree.

So who will fall first ?

Its pretty clear from what we’ve discussed, Microsoft is the least likely to fail among the big three. That still leaves the question, who gets the top spot ? From revenue streams, though Google appears the most vulnerable, it has shown its ability to adapt and change. Though it hasn’t managed much success in its alternate ventures but Android, Chrome and Maps too were alternate ventures once and they have become indispensable today. This gives us enough reason to believe when push comes to shove, Google might stumble, but it will pull through.

Apple on the other hand has been unable to shake off its reliance on the iPhone. For a while, the iPad did provide diversity to an extent, but it is already in decline with nothing seemingly close enough to offer a different revenue stream. Its past attempts to move beyond its core products too haven’t been promising. Not to mention, Apple depends on its users sticking to its ecosystem. With the loyalty of modern users changing like the seasons, this leaves it the most vulnerable thus taking the top spot, followed by Google and Microsoft taking the cake with the company least likely to fail.

This article was published in techworm.net By Delwyn Pinto

Categorized in Search Engine
  • Apple's ecosystem is key to its success
  • iTunes, the App Store iOS, macOS, Apple TV, Siri and Home all tie together
  • Once a consumer invests in the ecosystem, it's harder to switch out of it

There's one big reason people buy Apple products: the ecosystem.

People don't buy iPhones by the tens of millions just because they like the hardware, though that's a huge part of it, but because they're tied into an ever-growing, sprawling ecosystem of software and services that allow you to do more with the products if you continue to invest in that ecosystem.

Let me explain.

When Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007, iPod users who were already using iTunes saw something familiar and much more consumer-friendly than BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Palm devices offered at the time. iTunes was the seed of an ecosystem that, in the past ten years, has grown into a towering elm.

The App Store launched in 2008. After that, when people bought apps and games they were also continuing to buy into Apple. As they shelled out $0.99 here and $1.99 there for new software that only ran on their Apple devices, they were digging deeper into Apple's offering and further away from BlackBerry and a new operating system that was on the horizon: Android.

Apple continued to build out this ecosystem by changing the way its products interacted with one another. Apple added the ability to use iMessage and FaceTime from an iPad, for example, allowing you to carry on your iPhone conversations on a tablet. Then it introduced a similar feature to Macs, also adding in support for full phone calls. The more Apple devices you used, the better they worked together.

Siri launched on iPhone and iPad and eventually on Mac and Apple TV and even the Apple Watch. It became a familiar voice to answer your questions, no matter where you were.

Apple TV grew from what Apple CEO Tim Cook once referred to as a "hobby" to a real home streaming device with its own app store. And if you have an iPhone or iPad, all of your pictures through Apple's Photos app are available across devices, even on the TV in your living room.

Home, an app in iOS, lets you control light bulbs, window shades, door locks and more, so long as they're build using Apple's HomeKit set of developer tools. As consumers buy these products, they're making a decision to stick with Apple.

Customers are more likely to know about them, too, because Apple has a huge retail presence.

Walk into an Apple Store and trained employees will show you exactly how to use any of the Apple products you own. Or browse the shelves and purchase any number of products that'll work seamlessly with your iPhone or iPad.

The Apple Store is also the company's support hub, where you can go in with any questions, damaged products and more for assistance. If you have AppleCare+, the company's premium warranty plan, it often costs very little to repair your expensive Apple products, sometimes in the same day.

Competitors aren't as good at ecosystems

Apple's competitors are trying to do something similar. But they're going about it in a much more chaotic way that will confuse most consumers, who don't spend their lives following the ins and outs of the tech industry.

Google is making parallel moves to integrate products like the Google Home, the Pixel smartphone, the Chromecast smart TV and more, and that's a step in the right direction.

But Google relies mostly on partners to build and maintain its ecosystem of products, and that can be incredibly confusing.

How does the owner of an LG Android smartphone know what smart home products it works with? If that same customer buys an Android TV box built by NVIDIA and a smartwatch made by Huawei, who do they go to for support? (Answer: NVIDIA and Huawei, not Google.)

Samsung is getting better at creating an ecosystem like Apple's. It sells smartphones, tablets, TVs, wearables, and laptops in the U.S., and it has apps such as SideSync that allow you to interact with your smartphone from a Samsung tablet or laptop. It has services like Samsung Pay, which is arguably better than Apple Pay because it's accepted in more locations.

Samsung also owns SmartThings, a smart home technology company that it acquired in 2014 for $200 million. SmartThings is more open than Apple HomeKit, allowing it to support Android and iOS smartphones and a large variety of smart home products ranging from power outlets to door locks and cameras.

The difference between SmartThings and Apple Home is that people have heard of Apple Home — you can hardly miss the yellow icon staring at your from your new iPhone — and can manage it easily through a single app on their smartphone. But SmartThings can be controlled by any number of apps and gadgets, including Google Assistant and the Amazon Echo. While it's versatile, it's also a lot more for a consumer to digest, and a lot harder for a consumer to get started. There's no glaring yellow app begging you to dive in on your new smartphone.CNBC: Apple Home

CNBC: Apple Home
Todd Haselton | CNBC

Samsung doesn't have an big app store. Samsung doesn't have a place to buy music, movies and TV shows. And Samsung doesn't provide as seamless an experience across all of its products (though it's becoming better at it with apps like Samsung Connect, which provide a one-stop destination for viewing and interacting with your Samsung gadgets.)

Nor do Samsung or Google have hundreds of high-profile stores around the world. Instead, they rely on small flagship viewing-only locations, pop-up events or dedicated corners in Best Buy, as places to better understand the products.

This doesn't help. As product ecosystems become more powerful, consumers need a single easy place to go to learn more about how they can be used.

Consumers also need a place to go for support. If you break your Samsung smartphone, you're going to be on the phone with your smartphone insurance provider -- if you bought insurance at all. If you have an iPhone, just walk into an Apple Store. Apple may charge you a premium depending on your warranty status, but you'll have some sort of solution from the company you bought your phone from. That's a big deal.

Competitors may be able to build a better smartphone, or better laptop, or better augmented reality device than Apple. But Apple has a years-long head start in building an ecosystem of products that leverage each other's strengths. That's why its services business now is almost the size of a Fortune 100 company alone. That will take a long time for any competitor to equal.

And that's why people will keep buying Apple products.

This article was  published in cnbc.com by Todd Haselton

Categorized in Others

If Apple is forced to delay the launch of the next-generation of the ever-popular iPhone, what is it going to do in September? While it could skip the traditional get-together, or announce the presumptively titled iPhone 8 and hope that ‘coming soon’ will be enough to keep eager buyers at bay for a few months, I think that it has a second option. One that is being developed in full view of the geekerati while we focus on the high-end game-changing tenth-anniversary smartphone.

The iPhone 7S is going to beAppleAAPL -0.14%’s safety net.

Apple CEO Tim Cook looks at a table during a visit of the shopfitting company Dula that delivers tables for Apple stores worldwide (Photo: Bernd Thissen/AFP/Getty Images)

Although information is muddled because of the confusion over the name of the next-generation iPhone, the indications are that the new top end iPhone (be it ‘iPhone 8’, ‘iPhone Pro', or the pure and simple 'iPhone') will not begin production until Q4 of 2017, meaning that it’s not going to be available until probably mid-November, and perhaps into December.

From the point of view of the new handset, I’ve previously argued here on Forbes that Apple should consider pushing the release back to March. Not only would this give time for the new hardware to be thoroughly evaluated and tested, it also allows Apple to go head-to-head with its chief rival Samsung and disrupt the traditional launch of the new Galaxy S model in March.

Be it a six-week delay or a six month delay, either strategy requires a bulwark to hold the line against a wave of highly specced Android handsets and the hordes of geekerati looking for a new Apple smartphone. Tim Cook and his team need a handset that will continue to portray Apple as a master of commercializing new technology that also leaves enough space for the iPhone 8 hardware and specifications to be portrayed as cutting-edge.

Step forward the iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus.

Apple iPhone 7 (image: Ewan Spence)Ewan Spence
Apple iPhone 7 (image: Ewan Spence)

Launched alongside the iPhone 8, it’s hard to see how the iPhone 7S family would stand out. With the curved screen, OLED display, and smart connector, many of the easy wins that will make the iPhone 8 stand out will illustrate how much technology is missing from the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus. With some sources suggesting the OLED display may show up on the 7S handsets Apple will have a tough time positioning the handsets for retail success.

What if the plan is not to match up the 7S, 7S Plus, and the 8? What if the plan is to hold back the iPhone 8 because of production issues until a later date and put all the focus on the iPhone 7S family? That would explain the suggestions of OLED displays going into the same handset design that was debuted in 2016 on the iPhone 6. It would mean that the speed and efficiency improvements to be found in the new A11 system on chip can be the focus of the event. Updates to software such as the camera and increased integration with iCloud could be promoted.

The 7S and 7S Plus would still be seen as iterative handsets by the experts and those who follow the news online will be aware of the mutterings of a ‘better’ iPhone, but most consumers are comfortable with the idea that there is always going to be a better phone in the future. The 7S family can be the phone that Apple uses to define 2017, that the phone that delivers Cupertino the sales it needs in the fourth calendar quarter, and the phone can be the one that tops the annual sales charts.

At some point the iPhone 8 will arrive. Until that delayed day, the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus will save Apple from making an embarrassing admission about its production schedules.

This article was  published on forbes.com by Ewan Spence

Categorized in Others

The drivers need to pass seven different tests before they are fully trained with the autonomous cars, according to a leaked document.

Apple's Stephen Chick displays the CarPlay program at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, California June 2, 2014.REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
 
Apple has developed an Automated System for its self-driving car project, and has also put in place a special training programme to teach employees how to regain manual control of autonomous cars.According to Apple's "Development Platform Specific Training" document, obtained byBusiness Insider, the company is working on an autonomous driving technology, dubbed the "Apple Autonomous System." The latest report came a week after the Cupertino tech giant obtained permission to test self driving cars in California.The leaked documents also revealed that drivers need to clear seven tests including low speed driving, high speed driving, tight U-turn, sudden steering input, sudden acceleration, sudden breaking and conflicting turn signal and action. To pass each test, every driver must complete two practice runs and three trials.
 
The documents also suggest that Apple's "Autonomous System" is controlled electronically during safety testing, which requires drivers to know how to manually control the vehicle when needed.
According to the training packet, Apple's self-driving car uses a Logitech wheel and pedals to actuate drive by wire, and it supports one person at a time.Pressing the brake pedal or grabbing the steering wheel in Apple's test vehicles will disengage the electronic driving mode, but drivers can accelerate without overriding the "drive by wire" mode.
Last week, Apple was granted a permit to test autonomous vehicles on public roads in the state of California. According to the California DMV website, the iPhone-maker was added to a list of permit holders that includes giants like Google, Tesla, BMW, Honda, Ford and Nissan.Earlier reports said that Apple had applied for a permit to use three 2015 Lexus RX450h SUVs, which will be driven by six drivers who are experts in areas like machine learning.The newly leaked document also has names of six Apple employees who have passed the company's autonomous vehicle test. Therefore, it's likely that these six drivers will get the opportunity to operate the self-driving platform.
Source : ibtimes.co.in
Categorized in Others

SAN FRANCISCO — When Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs in 1976, the two Steves assumed it would last forever.

Woz still believes that's true. In fact, he's convinced Apple, Google and Facebook will be bigger in 2075, the theme of next weekend's Silicon Valley Comic Con (SVCC), “The Future of Humanity: Where Will We Be in 2075?”

The three-day conference, which Wozniak helped create last year, explores the intersection of pop culture and technology. This year's guests includes the 30th anniversary cast reunion of Star Trek: The Next Generation, actors William Shatner and John Cusack, former astronaut Buzz Aldrin and renowned architect Greg Lynn.

SVCC is expected to draw 75,000 to 100,000 from April 21-23 to downtown San Jose. In addition to a start-up village and space exploration zone, its exhibit floor showcases entertainment companies, comic book vendors, and technology exhibits for virtual reality, robotics and smart devices. Panels and film presentations will weigh in on flying cars, aliens, Mars, the implantation of computers into brains and other space-age stuff, show organizers say.

Wozniak is no stranger to predictions. In 1982, he said portable laptops would emerge. And he has strong opinions on how we'll live in 58 years.

"Apple will be around a long time, like IBM (which was founded in 1911)," Wozniak said in an interview on Friday. "Look at Apple's cash ($246.1 billion, as of the end of its last fiscal quarter). It can invest in anything. It would be ridiculous to not expect them to be around (in 2075). The same goes for Google and Facebook."

Woz shared some other predictions on what type of planet we can expect in 2075:

— New cities. Deserts could be ideal locations for cities of the future, designed and built from scratch, according to Wozniak. There, housing problems will not exist and people will shuttle among domed structures. Special wearable suits will allow people to venture outside, he said.

— The influence of artificial intelligence. Within all cities, AI will be ubiquitous, Wozniak says. Like a scene straight from the movie Minority Report, consumers will interact with smart walls and other surfaces to shop, communicate and be entertained. Medical devices will enable self-diagnosis and doctor-free prescriptions, he says. "The question will be ethical, on whether we can eliminate the need for physicians," he says.

Mars covered in clouds viewed by the Hubble Space Telescope,Mars covered in clouds viewed by the Hubble Space Telescope, May 2016. (Photo: NASA / HUBBLE / HANDOUT, EPA)
 — Mars colony. Woz is convinced a colony will exist on the Red Planet. Echoing the sentiments of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, whose Blue Origin start-up has designs on traveling to Mars, Wozniak envisions Earth zoned for residential use and Mars for heavy industry.

— Extraterrestrials. With apologies to those who believe in aliens, Wozniak says there is a "random chance" that Earthlings will communicate with another race. "It's worth trying," he says, "but I don't have high hopes."

The trick with predicting the future, Wozniak readily acknowledges, is that it changes so quickly. "Who could have foreseen the rise of an Uber a decade ago?' he says, before pausing.

"She has more power in her hand than Superman," Wozniak, broadly smiling, says, pointing at a colleague's iPhone. "To make such strides in computing... It shows you how exciting the future can be."

Source : usatoday.com

Categorized in Others

So far so good for Samsung's newest smartphones, likely much to the dismay of Apple (AAPL) ahead of its big iPhone 8 release later this year. 

Categorized in Others

Apple is slated to release a new iPhone this year, and one premium model will reportedly feature a curved screen, news reports said. These curved displays seem to be all the rage, with companies designing the screens for everything from smartphones to televisions. But what, if anything, do you gain from the curve?

Plenty of others phone makers have released curved screens, but Samsung was the first with the release of the concave Samsung Galaxy Round in 2013. Since then firms have experimented with various different kinds of curves, but when Samsung introduced the convex dual-curved sides to its flagship Galaxy S6 in 2015 it set the zeitgeist and most phone makers have since toed the line.

Rumors about Apple's curved iPhone were reported by The Wall Street Journal. Citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, the Journal reported that Apple would be releasing a high-end version of its 10th-anniversary iPhone, alongside the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus; this version will have a curved screen and be priced at around $1,000. [10 Technologies That Will Transform Your Life]

And Apple is hardly the only company investing in this display technology. Samsung was the first to release a smartphone with a curved display, the concave Samsung Galaxy Round, in 2013. Since then, other companies have experimented with different kinds of curves, but in 2015, when Samsung introduced the convex, dual-curved sides to its flagship Galaxy S6, the company seemed to ignite a new trend.

Tellingly, The Korea Herald also reported that Samsung could end up supplying Apple with the curved screens. This is because Apple currently uses liquid crystal display (LCD) technology in its iPhones, and creating curved screens is practical only with organic LED (OLED) displays.

These displays, which are also used in TVs, rely on a thin film of organic compound — that is, a compound that contains carbon — which emits light in response to an electric current. LCDs, on the other hand, require backlighting to shine light through the liquid crystals.

Early work

Samsung pioneered OLED technology in the early 2000s, and has built up a market-leading position in the development of the small OLED displays used in smartphones, said Karl Leo, director of the Integrated Center for Applied Physics and Photonic Materials at the Technical University Dresden in Germany.

"Samsung took a high risk to develop the production processes," Leo told Live Science. "Initially, for a couple of years, Samsung had the market to itself, and since obviously Apple and Samsung are competitors, Apple clearly had a problem with the need to establish independent manufacturing facilities that have enough capacity for the very large number of displays it needs."

While mass-producing OLEDs is complicated, the benefits are considerable, and several other companies are now producing the screen on a large scale, Leo said. OLED displays can have higher contrasts — blacker blacks and brighter whites — than LCD displays, he said. And unlike with LCDs, looking at an OLED screen from narrow angles does not distort the color or contrast, he added.

Most importantly, OLEDs emit light themselves and so don't need backlighting, and this allows for much thinner displays, Leo said. In addition, the films of organic compounds are soft, making it possible to create a curved screen, he said.

But why would you want a curved screen? The curved edges of the Samsung Galaxy S6, which introduced the de facto standard for curved smartphone screens, featured various new functions. These included shortcuts and information that can be seen at a quick glance on the long, curved edges of the device.

But Samsung said the main goal was to tackle "FoMo," or fear of missing out, reported The Daily Telegraph. The phone allows users to assign a color for up to five contacts, and the screen lights up in that color if they call. When the screen is face down, users can still see the curved edges, so it's possible to tell if a friend is calling even if users are in a situation where it would be rude to check their phone.

Design vs. function

However, design choices are the main reason behind the new trend for curved screens, not functionality, said Leo, who owns a Galaxy S7 Edge himself.

"It's a desire [of] manufactures to distinguish themselves, but in my opinion this has its limits," he said. [11 Odd and Intriguing Smart Home Technologies]

I must frankly say a curved screen is a minor step," He said that the ultimate promise of OLED technology is flexible screens that can be bent and twisted without damaging them and even screens so supple they can be rolled up like a towel.

There are considerable challenges to overcome before reaching that promise though, he said. Creating highly flexible displays will require a flexible substrate (the layer on which the OLEDs are applied) rather than the glass substrate that is typically used today, he said.

OLEDs also need to be protected from humidity and oxygen; otherwise, the pixels get damaged and stop working, Leo said. With a glass substrate, this is not too difficult, but if phone manufacturers switch to a flexible plastic substrate, it is much more challenging to keep oxygen and humidity levels low enough, he added.

It's not just the OLEDs that need to be flexible, though. The transistor backplane — the layer of  components responsible for electronically switching each pixel on and off — will need to be flexible as well, Leo said. He said that flexible organic transistors could solve this problem, but these materials are still a ways away from being commercially available, which means truly flexible displays aren't likely to appear anytime soon, according to Leo.

But unlike curved phone screens, when flexible displays do arrive, they will be cause for real excitement Leo said. For example, he says one could imagine a phone display that could be rolled up tight enough that it could fit inside a pen. When you want to use the phone display you simply unfurl it from the pen and then it rolls back up once you're done.

"Wouldn't that be lovely?" he said.

Or at home, imagine if your television is actually rolled up like a window shade, and if you want to use it, you pull it down, watch TV, and then simply zip it up again.

"So, for flexible displays, there are many beautiful applications," Leo said. "You can put them anywhere. You can put them in garments, so flexibility would be really a breakthrough for many applications."

Source : livescience.com

Categorized in News & Politics

People love using macOS for plenty of reasons: its simple navigability, its built-in suite of creative-minded tools, and y'know, the whole Apple fanboy thing. But the OS's perceived security remains one of the biggest draws for picking a Mac over a Windows device

That security, however, may be at risk. McAfee Labs' latest Threats Report, published at the beginning of the month, shared some potentially sobering news for Mac users: There's been a massive spike in new malware targeting macOS, resulting in a more than 700 percent increase in the malicious software from just the year before. The influx came during Q4 2016, the last quarter for which data has been gathered.

 

McAfee recorded nearly 350,000 new malicious samples on macOS—and more than 460,000 reports of malware affecting macOS overall—during the quarter. That's an exponential increase from Q3 2016, which posted barely 50,000 new samples. The year before had even fewer instances of the nasty software, as Q4 2015 barely registered any new reports. 

The increase in malware comes as more people buy Apple's computers and use its OS, as Fortune notes. 

There is a bright side, though: McAfee says that the majority of the malware came from adware bundling, which looks to deluge your web browsing experience with popup ads. It's annoying, sure, but it's preferable to truly malicious software that aims to take over your laptop or knock your computer out of commission.

WATCH: Google takes on fake news with 'Fact Check' tags in Search and News

WATCH Google takes on fake news with Fact Check tags in Search and News

Source : mashable.com

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Apple rolled out the new iOS 10.3 update Monday — and if you took the plunge and upgraded to the new OS, you might have noticed your iPhone is running a bit more quickly and smoothly than it did before.

That alone shouldn't be a big surprise. New software should make your phone hum, and this update in particular includes a fancy new modern file system that has played a part in freeing up more storage space on devices than the previous OS.

But that's not the only reason your iPhone now has some extra pep, according to Apple engineer Renaud Lienhart. He took to Twitter to reveal one of the undocumented tweaks to the OS.

iOS 10.3 feels “snappier” because many animations were slightly tweaked & shortened, for the better.
— Renaud Lienhart (@NotoriousBUGS) March 28, 2017

The animations he's talking about come when you open, close or switch between apps, as BGR notes. This doesn't mean the apps will be running faster when you use them — it has to do more with improved responsiveness, which I noticed right away while switching between open apps on the new OS. It's a small change, but it makes multitasking on the iPhone even more seamless than before.

You should update your device to iOS 10.3 for more than just the speed boost, too. It's always a good call to keep your phone's OS current, since updates usually fix issues and bugs, like the Safari ransom bug that 10.3 knocked out.

That, and you'll finally be able to track down pesky AirPods when they get lost and avoid dropping a $69 fee (not nice) for a replacement.

Author: Brett Williams
Source : Mashable Tech
 
Categorized in Others

It has taken seven betas, but Apple AAPL -0.22% has finally released iOS 10.3. The new update has caused some scares, but also brings essential optimisation. So should you upgrade? 

Here’s everything you need to know…

Apple iOS 10.3 is finally here.

Who Is iOS 10.3 For?

iOS 10.3 targets all iOS 10 compatible devices: the iPhone 5 or later, iPad 4 or later, iPad mini 2 or later, iPad Pro range and the 6th generation iPod touch or later.

You should be prompted to upgrade to iOS 10.3 automatically, but if that hasn’t happened it can be triggered manually by going to Settings > General > Software Update.

iOS updates differ in size depending on your device. In the case of iOS 10.3 it is a medium-sized update weighing in at up to 600MB, and it’s an important one.   

Apple 10.3 has been released for iPhones, iPads and iPod touch. Image credit: Apple
Apple 10.3 has been released for iPhones, iPads and iPod touch.

The Deal Breakers

iOS 10.3 will break any jailbroken devices. In recent years jailbreaking teams’ game of cat and mouse has been decidedly one sided with Apple consistently retaining the upper hand and iOS upgrades making jailbreaks less important than they once were. That said, if you value having a jailbroken device, steer clear.

Secondly there is an ongoing argument at Apple’s official Support Communities over whether iOS 10.3 (and its previous betas) truly fixes the 30% Battery Bug which Apple claimed it had addressed in iOS 10.2.1 (which in truth was only a partial success).

The argument from those who are skeptical is that Apple has changed how it reports the battery percentage (an ‘artificial meter’), rather than fixing the underlying cause. Whether this is true remains to be seen, but the fact is - fixed or not - this should not stop users upgrading if they are already affected.

Aside from this there are some isolated reports in Apple Support Communities about failed updates (impatience can actually be a factor) and Bluetooth connectivity issues (12) but nothing has shown any sign of wide scale problems. I’ll update should that change.

So What Do You Get?

Being a ‘major point upgrade’ iOS 10.3 is a feature rich update, the highlights of which include:

  • Find My iPhone - track lost AirPods by requesting a sound is played from them (you’ll need a relatively quiet environment, but it works well)
Find My AirPods arrives in iOS 10.3.Apple
Find My AirPods arrives in iOS 10.3.
  • Siri - support for paying and checking bill status in payment apps, scheduling in ride booking apps, access the functionality of car maker’s apps
  • CarPlay - shortcuts in the status bar for easy access to recent apps, Apple Music Now Playing gives access to Up Next and the currently playing song’s album, daily curated playlists and new music categories in Apple Music
  • iTunes - movie rentals (finally!)
  • Settings - a unified view for Apple ID account information, settings and devices V
  • Maps - Hourly weather using 3D Touch on the displayed current temperature, searching for your ‘parked car’
  • Calendar - delete unwanted invites and report them as junk (vital given this has been a method for spam)
  • Home - support for ‘scenes’ using accessories with switches and buttons, battery level status in accessories
  • Podcasts - support for 3D Touch and Today widget to access recently updated shows, episodes now shareable to Messages with playback support

In addition to this the biggest news is the introduction of the Apple File System (APFS). APFS replaces the ancient HFS+ (launched back in 1998) which itself is based on HFS (launched in 1985!). APFS is more efficient so it saves space (expect 1-7GB depending on the storage size of your device), enables better backups, is more secure and optimised for solid state storage - which was what all iOS devices use.

An Apple engineer also revealed that Apple has quietly optimised system animations to make navigation feel faster.

Meanwhile on the security side of things iOS 10.3 is now actively warning users if they have 32-bit apps installed. iOS moved to 64-bit several years ago and now Apple is hunting down outdated apps which have yet to make the change. In addition to this around 100 vulnerabilities have been fixed, including a high profile Safari flaw which allowed hackers to stop users browsing the web and demand payment through an endless stream of pop-ups.

A full list of Apple’s numerous security fixes in iOS 10.3 can be viewed here.

iOS 10.3 ushers in a new, potentially more stable, era with the arrival of APFS and it saves space too as this before/after shot showsBrad Moon
iOS 10.3 ushers in a new, potentially more stable, era with the arrival of APFS and it saves space too as this before/after shot shows

Apple iOS 10.3 Install Verdict: Upgrade

iOS 10.3 is one of the most impressive updates Apple has released in some time. Switching the entire file system of around one billion compatible devices is a huge task and all signs are it has gone smoothly, while also saving users space and improving performance. No doubt there is also room for further optimisation with time.

In addition to this the new features are useful, practical and in some cases (iTunes movie rentals) overdue. A cloud still hangs over Apple’s lack of transparency regarding the 30% Bug and affected users are still reporting it isn’t a perfect cure (and are doubtful about the methods Apple has employed to ‘fix’ it), but overall iOS 10.3 is a very good step forward for all compatible iPhones, iPads and iPod touch.

The Road Ahead

In a curious move Apple has announced iOS 10.3.2 is now in beta testing with no sign of iOS 10.3.1. Perhaps iOS 10.3.1 will be a minor update/bug fix and Apple feels there is no need to test it first, but I don’t remember out of sequence testing occurring before.

Making things more curious is iOS 10.3.2 Beta 1 suggests it is also focused on fixes not features. A quick release for iOS 10.3.1 could clear this up, but for now it’s odd.

Meanwhile, despite still being six months away, speculation is already growing about iOS 11 and some vague claims are floating around that it brings upgrades to Siri. I’d take these with a pinch of salt at this stage and simply hope that the seamless introduction of APFS in iOS 10.3 marks a return to the rock solid updates we saw prior to iOS 7.

No longer using a file system based on a core which is 32 years old has to be a good sign...

Source : forbes.com

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