Apple makes record 4 million pre-order sales of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in 24 hours

Apple has made a record number of pre-sales of the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which were officially unveiled last Tuesday. Pre-orders for the handsets opened early on Friday morning and by the end of the day they had sold 4 million units, which is twice the volume of sales of the iPhone 5 over the same period when it launched in 2012. The new larger iPhone 6 Plus sold out almost straight away.

iphone6-lm-bb-201409

The devices will go on sale in stores in the UK at 8am on Friday 19 September and there will no doubt be a similar frenzy to secure one, despite the fact that they are not cheap. To buy an unlocked iPhone 6 directly from Apple, it will set you back £539 for 16GB model, £619 for 64GB, and £699 for 128GB. The iPhone 6 Plus is £619 for the 16GB version, £699 for 64GB and £789 for 128GB.

Networks have also started to release their prices for buying the phone on a contract. Three and EE are offering the iPhone 6 on a 24 month contract for a minimum price plan of around £40 per month, plus £99 upfront for the handset. Both Vodafone and O2 are offering free handsets but minimum monthly price plans of around £53.

Those with an iPhone 4S or above who plan to stick with their existing handset will be able to upgrade to iOS 8 from Wednesday 17 September.

Will you be buying an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus?

Find out more about the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus here

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Apple Watch finally unveiled

apple_watch_event_tim_cook_apple_apIt’s been a long time coming but Apple finally unveiled its smartwatch on Tuesday alongside the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

The biggest surprise was probably the name, which most had, understandably, assumed would be the iWatch. Instead Apple decided to come up with something completely original and call it the Apple Watch.

As you’d expect from Apple, it’s as smart in design as it is in function. It comes in two different sizes (38mm and 42mm in height) with three different style collections: ‘Apple Watch’, ‘Apple Watch Sport’ and a premium collection, ‘Apple Watch Edition’. Between the collections there are a total of eleven different faces to choose from, including Stainless Steel, Space Grey Aluminium and 18 Carat Gold. There’s also a wide range of straps and even more display options to personalise your watch further still.

In addition to a button on the side, the watch face has a little knob that looks like the one that was used to wind up and set the time on old school watches. Apple has called this the ‘digital crown’ and it’s used to scroll, zoom in and out and is also the home button.

The Apple Watch is compatible with iPhone 5 onwards, and in addition to the standard communication features that you’d expect from a smartwatch (receiving calls, texts and displaying notifications from social media) the Apple Watch also has a walkie talkie feature for sending short voice messages as well as a tapping feature to subtly get someone’s attention and an animated emoji for those who prefer to communicate that way!

Apple WatchYou can use the watch to access and control iTunes, iTunes radio and Apple TV, and Siri’s on there too for you to ask questions, dictate messages and ask directions via the maps feature. Like the new iPhones, the watch also features Apple Pay.

It also functions well as a fitness monitor and has an accelerometer to measure activity as well as a heart rate sensor on the back of the watch face. These sensors feed information to the Apple Health app to analyse your performance and fitness levels.

Apple Watch also comes with a developer tool called WatchKit, which allows developers to create third party apps, so we can expect a plethora of apps for it when it goes on sale next year.

What do you think of the Apple Watch? Will you buy one?

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Apple announces the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch

As expected, Apple announced two new iPhones and a smartwatch at its big event in Cupertino yesterday.

apple-eventAs soon as the event began, around 6pm GMT, the internet became inundated with blow by blow accounts of everything that was being said at the event, shortly followed by hands on reviews and comparisons with rival products.

Here at Gadget Stylist we love a new gadget, or three, as much as the next tech geek, and have pored through all the coverage for the past few hours. However, conscious of the fact that most people have much better things to do with their time than do the same, we’ve summarised the main features of the latest crop of Apples for you.

For starters, here’s the lowdown on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus…

iPhone 6

The first thing to notice about the iPhone 6 is its new design, with curved glass edges. Although not vastly different to previous incarnations (it’s not hugely dissimilar to the original iPhone!), at only 6.9mm thin (0.7mm less than the iPhone 5S) it’s slimmer and looks sleeker.

At 4.7 inches, the screen is slightly larger than the previous models and has what Apple describes as a “Retina HD” display, which has a resolution of 1,134 x 750 or 289 ppi (pixels per inch). While the much rumoured sapphire glass doesn’t feature this time, the phone’s front glass is described as being “ion strengthened”.

iPhone 6Inside, the iPhone 6 features the new Apple A8 processor, which although still 64 bit, is faster and more efficient than its predecessor. There’s also an M8 motion coprocessor with a new barometer sensor that measures both distance travelled and elevation, for enhanced fitness apps.

The phone also has a better camera with improved focusing technology to take faster and sharper pictures. It also has increased battery life and Apple claims it will manage 11 hours of continuous video playback.

One of the most exciting new features to grace to iPhone 6 is the long awaited Apple Pay that will allow you to pay for goods using your phone, thanks to its inbuilt NFC antenna and the added security of Touch ID.

iPhone 6 Plus

The iPhone 6 Plus has a whopping 5.5 inch screen with a 1920 x 1080 (401ppi) resolution display. It may be large but it’s only fractionally thicker than the iPhone 6 at 7.1mm.

To make the plus-sized phone easier to navigate, the iPhone 6 Plus has a feature called “reachability” where a double tap of the home button moves apps and content to the bottom half of the screen to make it easier to use with one hand.

The camera in the iPhone 6 Plus also has optical stabilisation to eliminate camera shake, but otherwise specs are pretty similar to the iPhone 6.

Both phones are available in space grey, white and gold, and in 16, 64 and 128 GB variants.

What do you think of the new iPhones?

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Sony to unveil three new Xperia devices at IFA 2014

xperia-ifa-2014Excitement is mounting ahead of the IFA tech trade show, which kicks off in Berlin this week and will see all the major tech companies (except Apple, that is) launch their latest products.

As usual, there has been much speculation about what the likes of Samsung and Sony have up their sleeves. Supposed leaked images have been doing the rounds and some companies have even stoked the intrigue by teasing us with what they have in store.

Last week Sony released a mysterious image featuring the silhouettes of three devices, thought to be its new range of Xperia products, and has since tantalised us further still with a video teaser.

Sony Xperia Teaser Video

Xperia-Z3-Compact-coloursThe devices are rumoured to be a new compact tablet (Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact), and two smartphones (Xperia X3 and Xperia X3 Compact). Recently leaked details and images of the eagerly anticipated Xperia X3 Compact claim that it will have a 4.6-inch 720p display, 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 processor, a 20.7-megapixel camera, and come in black, white, green, and red variants.

If the rumours are true, it could be a major contender in the smartphone market. All will be revealed at the Sony press conference on Wednesday…

What announcements are you most looking forward to from IFA 2014?

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Google unveils Project Wing delivery drone programme

Google.drone.290-x195Google has revealed that it’s been building and testing drones that can be used to make deliveries. Project Wing is being overseen by Google X, the company’s secret tech research branch, and has been under development for the past two years.

The drones have a single “blended” wing measuring 1.5 metres, as well as four electronically driven propellers. It weighs 19 pounds and can carry packages up to 3 pounds, which are positioned in a gap in the middle of the wing. They are programmed with a destination and then fly there autonomously using a system of cameras, GPS, radios, accelerometers and gyroscopes.

Recently Google has been testing the drones successfully in Queensland, Australia, where the laws on flying drones are more “progressive” than many other parts of the world. The use of commercial drones is currently banned in the US, although both Amazon and Google are in talks with the regulators to change this.

The project is similar to the one announced by Amazon last year, although while Amazon’s Prime Air Service is intended to deliver goods to its customers, Google claims that its drones are being developed to deliver medical equipment and humanitarian aid. The idea was apparently first conceived as a way of delivering defibrillator kits to suspected heart attack sufferers more quickly than an ambulance. However, Google did also add that it envisaged the drones could be used to deliver goods to consumers eventually.

It would appear that the technology for drone delivery services is there, but the main hurdle is going to be changing regulations so that they can actually operate, and this will clearly involve a lot of research into the logistical and safety implications of having drones flying around autonomously.

Do you think it’s likely that we’ll see drones replacing delivery drivers in the near future?

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Apple confirms big event on 9 September

Apple eventFor months we’ve been tantalised by supposed leaked details and images of the iPhone 6, but finally it would appear that we’re just days away from finding out what Apple really has in store with the latest version, or versions, of its ever popular smartphone.

Yesterday Apple started sending out invitations to a big event on 9 September, and although it was teasingly cryptic with a tagline “wish we could say more”, it’s widely expected to be a launch of the latest iPhone, or iPhones.

According to hearsay, the new iPhone will come in two sizes: a 4.7 inch model and a larger 5.5 inch version. The other major improvement that we’re expecting to see is a sapphire-based display that will be more durable and reduce the risk of scratches and shattering.

Apple’s new software for iPhone and iPad, iOS 8 will also be launched alongside the new handsets.

There’s also much speculation that Apple will also use the 9 September event to launch the long awaited iWatch.

Many had already penciled in 9 September as the launch date for the new iPhone/s as Apple has chosen the same date to launch its new incarnations dating back to the release of the iPhone 4S. Less predictable was the choice of venue. This year’s event is to be held in the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, which is where Apple unveiled the first Mac personal computer in 1984. The significance of this combined with the fact that the Flint Centre is a much larger venue than is used for most launches leads many to believe that this is going to be a big occasion.

I guess we’ll have to wait until 9 September to find out… 11 days and counting!

Are you excited to see what Apple has up its sleeve for the 9 September launch?

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Tom Hanks’ typewriter app a hit on iTunes

hanx-writer-app-by-tom-hanksRemember those traditional typewriters that hurt your fingers and made a heavy clunking sound every time you hit a key. They even used real paper – lots of it. No, us neither. Honest.

Well, if like Tom Hanks you lament the passing of the traditional typewriter, with its clunking sounds, sticky keys and smudged, unevenly spaced characters, you can now download an app for your iPad that emulates the experience. And you won’t be alone as the app, that was released last week, has already shot to number 1 in the iTunes App Store

It might have something to do with the fact that it has been developed by Tom Hanks, who not only has celebrity appeal but has also spent months waxing lyrical about the charms of this iconic old piece of machinery.

Hanx Writer (see what they did there) presents you with an on screen keyboard that looks like that of an old fashioned typewriter and makes all the authentic sounds as you type, including the distinctive “ding” when you move on to the next line. Your text appears in old school typewriter script as if it is emerging from the typewriter on the screen. There’s also the option to connect to a Bluetooth keyboard for a slightly more authentic typing experience, and you can even chose different (virtual) machines, for a premium.

Hanx WriterWhile the app replicates the sounds and, to a certain extent, the experience of using an old fashioned typewriter, it does have enhanced features that writers back in the back would have killed for, such as the ability to delete mistakes. You can also save, print, email or share documents.

The app comes in three different versions for iPad, with the basic one being free. You can upgrade to more sophisticated versions that allow you to use different coloured ribbons and backgrounds, save multiple documents and incorporate photos into your documents.

It’s probably not an app to use to produce an important report for work or anything that requires to be done quickly. And it’s probably wise to avoid using it on the train or other public place, if you don’t want to incur the wrath of those around you who may not feel quite so sentimental about sounds from a bygone age. But as a novelty app, it’s well-made, fun to use and allows you to pretend that you’re one of the great classic novelists or screenwriters tapping out a masterpiece, but without the inconvenience of Tip Ex or finger fatigue.

Have you downloaded Hanx Writer? What do you think?

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New iPad to have anti-reflective screen

ipad-air-gallery1-2013With autumn fast approaching, we’re getting closer and closer to the expected arrival of Apple’s latest products. And as August marches on, more and more details about what to expect from the latest crop are starting to emerge.

Leaked details and images of the iPhone 6, in both a 4.7 inch and 5.5 inch model, have been circulating for a while but until now we’ve heard relatively little of any note regarding the new iPad Air 2.

However, today Bloomberg revealed that “according to people with knowledge of the matter”, the new 9.7 inch iPad has gone into mass production, with a launch expected at the end of this quarter. It also revealed that the new larger iPad will have an anti-reflection coating on the screen to make it easier to read in bright light. Details on the nature of this coating were not provided but it’s a change that will be well received by iPad users who’ve previously had to add anti-glare films to the screen to make it easier to see in direct sunlight.

A new 7.9 inch iPad mini was also reported to entering production for release towards the end of the year, but it’s unclear whether that too will feature the anti-reflective screen.

The iPhone 6 is expected to be launched at an event on the 9th September, exactly a year after the launch of the iPhone 5s, with the new iPads to be unveiled at a later launch in October. The eagerly anticipated iWatch is also expected to make an appearance this autumn, but it’s likely to be at a later launch.

Are you excited about the latest crop of Apples about to drop?

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HP teams up with fashion designer to create luxury smartwatch

hp-luxury-smartwatchWith early smartwatches being more substance over style, manufacturers of the latest models to hit the market are placing more importance on aesthetics in the hope that more attractive and wearable devices will finally lead to a boom in the industry.

More stylish designs are starting to emerge, such as the much-lauded Moto 360, but HP is going all out with its inaugural smartwatch by teaming up with designer Michael Bastien and high-end retail site Gilt, to produce the first luxury smartwatch.

Like the Moto 360, HP’s smartwatch will have a round face, but its dimensions will be much more in line with traditional watches than any smartwatch that’s gone before. It will have a 44mm stainless steel case and a bezel featuring inlaid button controls. Unlike other smartwatches, which have been marketed as unisex items (although realistically, are much too big to fit comfortably on smaller wrists), HP’s watch is being targeted at men and has a masculine, sporty design. It will also come with a range of interchangeable straps in brown leather, black rubber and green nylon.

HP smartwatchWith the emphasis being on style and wearability rather than an overload of tech features, the watch is primarily designed to be a notification hub that alerts the wearer to incoming calls, emails, texts, calendar appointments and updates on weather, stocks and sports etc. It will also function as a remote control for music apps.

HP’s smartwatch will be compatible with both iOS and Android, and be controlled via a companion app, similar to Pebble smartwatches. This suggests that HP is developing its own software.

The company has also promised that the watch’s battery life will last seven days, which will be another major selling point.

The price of the watch is yet to be unveiled, but its positioning at the luxury end of the market suggests that it won’t be cheap. The watch is due to go on sale this autumn, exclusively at Gilt.

What do you think of HP’s luxury smartwatch?

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Air Type: “keyboardless keyboard” that lets you type on anything, anywhere

air-type_655x438Sick of struggling to type on your phone or tablet? It’s one of the main issues people have with mobile devices and the reason why compact laptops remain so popular.

Certain companies have devised ways to incorporate discreet keyboards into tablet-style devices, such as the Microsoft Surface with its ‘type cover’ or the Lenovo Yoga Pad that folds in half. However, a start up in Texas is working on a prototype that will allow you to type anywhere, without the need for a keyboard at all.

Air Type is being billed as a “keyboardless keyboard” that allows you to type on any surface thanks to a pair of cuff style sensor units that fit around your hands and detect your finger movements. Unlike other virtual keyboards that project an outline of a keyboard onto a flat surface, Air Type will provide no outline whatsoever.

Airtype-keyless-keyboard-innovative-ideaFirst impressions are that it would be nigh on impossible to touch type accurately enough without a guide, but the company behind Air Type claims that you won’t have to, as the cuffs will have adaptive technology that allows them to learn to adjust to your typing habits in much the same way as voice recognition software learns to recognise speech patterns.

Air Type will also come with an app that provides autocorrect and text prediction.

The cuffs are slim and unobtrusive, and to make them even more portable, they will clip onto your tablet when you’re on the move.

It all sounds great in theory but as the project is still in the early stages of development, we’ll have to wait and see whether the team is able to deliver on its objectives.

Could you see yourself using a “keyboardless keyboard”?

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