We’ve gotten our hands on the fourth-generation iPad mini and have posted an unboxing and comparison gallery below, highlighting the contents of the new iPad mini packaging along with differences between the slightly longer iPad mini 4 and last year’s iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2. Look for our full iPad mini 4 review next week.
As announced last week, Apple has released iOS 9, its latest operating system for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The update should now be available for over-the-air installation via Settings, General, Software Update, or by connecting to iTunes and using the Check for Updates option. Described by Apple as its “most advanced mobile experience”, the new version includes more intelligent Siri features, proactive suggestions, new keyboard and multitasking features for iPad users, and a number of under-the-hood performance and stability improvements. Stay tuned for our iOS 9 Instant Expert feature, filling you in on everything you need to know about iOS 9.
Not much of a surprise but Xcode confirms 2GB of RAM for the 6s (and 6s plus), and 4GB for the iPad Pro pic.twitter.com/X8Ym4DtamS— Hamza Sood (@hamzasood) September 13, 2015
Developer Hamza Sood claims that a clever hack of Xcode’s asset catalogs confirms that the iPad Pro will contain 4GB of RAM and the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will each feature 2GB. Adobe posted similar specs for the iPad Pro’s RAM last week before quickly taking down the information. To find out if the information was accurate, Sood set assets in Xcode that would load different images depending on the device’s RAM capacity. If the figures hold up, that means the new iPhones have twice the RAM of the iPhone 6 and the iPad Pro also has double the RAM of the iPad Air 2. [via 9to5Mac]
A new tweet from Steve Troughton-Smith has revealed that Apple has actually listed the new Apple TV’s RAM in the documentation as 2GB – a very uncharacteristic move for the company which normally says nothing publicly about the amount of RAM in each of its iOS devices.
Very out of character, Apple has listed the new AppleTV’s RAM amount in the documentation (it’s 2GB)— Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) September 9, 2015
In a similar vein, an Adobe blog post yesterday revealed that the new iPad Pro is expected to include an unprecedented 4GB of RAM, although the memory references were later removed from the post, making it unclear whether the information is in fact accurate or whether Apple simply may not yet want these details revealed. (via GforGames)
As in previous years, following yesterday’s event, Apple has now released the final GM seed for iOS 9 to registered developers. The GM seed is a final “release candidate” and barring any problems found in this version, it is expected to be identical to the final iOS 9.0 release scheduled to be rolled out to the public next week. Unlike prior beta updates, the GM seed does not appear to be available as an over-the-air update; developers will need to download the GM seed from Apple’s site and update to it manually via iTunes.
Along with the iOS 9 GM Seed, Apple has also already released the first beta version of iOS 9.1 to developers. The iOS 9.1 beta release notes don’t reveal much new in iOS 9.1, although it appears to include developer-level enhancements for new features introduced on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus yesterday, such as 3D Touch and Live Photos. The iOS 9.1 beta continues to support the same devices as iOS 9.0 and registered iOS developers can download the iOS 9.1 beta from Apple’s Developer site.
Apple has announced Sept. 16 as the official release date for iOS 9, the next major update to its mobile operating system. Originally shown in June at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference and then released into public beta over the summer, iOS 9 will add a number of new features including a more proactive assistant mode for Siri, Transit directions in Apple Maps, a News app for curated news feeds, split-screen multitasking for iPad users, and support for loyalty cards in Passbook, which is being renamed Wallet in light of its new role. The new version will also offer HomeKit support for new devices, as well as accessing HomeKit via iCloud, and support for wireless CarPlay connections. New developer features will also allow for smaller and more efficient iOS applications. The new version is also expected to run more efficiently on older iPhone and iPad models.
Apple took the wraps off its long-rumored iPad Pro during today’s event in San Francisco, revealing a new 12.9” version of the tablet that provides a 2732 x 2048, 5.6 million pixel display. Combined with iOS 9, the new iPad Pro allows for iPad Air apps to run with more room side-by-side, and incorporates a third-generation A9X 64-bit CPU providing twice the performance of the prior A8X devices such as the iPad Air 2 — performance that can allow users to edit three streams of 4K video simultaneously. The iPad Pro features a variable refresh rate to save energy, providing up to 10 hours of battery life, and a new four-speaker audio system that provides stereo separation, and automatically balances left and right audio depending on orientation while providing three times the audio volume of the iPad Air 2. The iPad Pro comes in at 6.9mm thick, only 0.8mm more than the iPad Air 2, and weighs 1.57 pounds. The new device also features an 8MP iSight camera, a FaceTime HD camera on the front, 150Mbps LTE and 802.11ac with MIMO support, and Touch ID authentication.
To complement the iPad Pro, Apple also debuted a new physical keyboard accessory, dubbed the Smart Keyboard. Similar to the design of the Smart Covers that Apple has created for other iPad models, the Smart Keyboard uses the Apple dome switch key design from the new Apple MacBook which debuted earlier this year, covered with a custom fabric. The keyboard docks with the iPad Pro using a new “Smart Connector” on the long edge that provides power and data and attaches magnetically to the Smart Keyboard.
Ahead of what 9to5Mac believes will be Apple’s only event this fall, the site’s sources have spilled more last-minute details about the company’s new products. Contrary to previous rumors that had the iPad Pro starting at 64GB of storage, the new device will reportedly start at a base 32GB storage capacity — still double that of current iPad base models — priced at $800. 64GB and 128GB models are expected to cost $900 and $1,000, respectively, and LTE-capable models will tack on another $130 — bringing the total cost for a top-of-the-line iPad Pro to $1,130, just under the base price of a new Retina MacBook. In addition to camera upgrades, all-new “3D Touch Display” screens, improved A9 chips and more efficient wireless systems, the new iPhones are expected to feature always-on Siri functionality, allowing users to activate Apple’s personal assistant simply by saying, “Hey Siri” at any time. Current iPhone models have to be plugged into a power source to activate that feature.
The fourth-generation Apple TV is getting software upgrades too, expected to run a new iOS 9-based system appropriately named “tvOS.” While based on the current Apple TV OS, the new system reportedly includes plenty of new elements from iOS 9 and El Capitan, including enhanced transparency effects. And finally, although Apple Watch isn’t expected to get a second-generation version this year, the company is expected to debut new gold color options and bands at today’s event — a PRODUCT(RED) Sport band box has already been posted on Twitter — as well as possible announcements about the company’s collaborations with popular fashion brands. The event kicks off at 10 a.m. Pacific time (1 EST) today.
Ahead of Apple’s announcement tomorrow, 9to5Mac is reporting the new iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus and iPad Pro are expected to feature a next-generation version of the Force Touch display, likely to be called “3D Touch Display.” The new screens will be able to detect and act on three different levels of pressure — a tap, a press and a deep press. Sources said this improvement allows Apple to add new shortcut gestures to apps in the iPhone version of iOS 9, eliminating the need for multiple button pushes to do things like starting navigation in Maps or adding songs to a playlist in Music.
In addition to the new screen, 9to5Mac said the iPad Pro base model will feature four stereo speakers and 64GB of storage — substantially higher than the 16GB starting capacity of previous models. The new iPad will likely also come in a 128GB model and be available with built-in LTE capabilities like current iPad Air and iPad Mini lines, but will feature an A9X chip considered to be a large leap over the iPad Air 2’s A8X. Upscale models are expected to cost more than $1,000, placing them closer to the price point now reserved for a smaller MacBook than that of the most expensive iPad currently on the market. Even with the top of the line model, Apple is expected to make customers buy the Force-Touch-integrated stylus and Bluetooth keyboard separately, further upping the price for those looking for a more robust experience. The company is rumored to have two versions of the keyboard in the works, with one similar to the Apple Wireless Keyboard previously sold with Macs and iPads and another that doubles as a case. While the new iPhones will probably be available in rose gold, the iPad Pro will start with the gold, silver and space grey colors we’ve already seen. Pre-orders may start in October, but production issues and supply constraints could keep the iPad Pro from shipping until the end of November.
Days before Apple’s scheduled event on Sept. 9, 9to5Mac is reporting that the new larger-sized iPad will indeed be called the iPad Pro — a name we’ve used to refer to the device since reports of its rumored existence started years ago — while also providing some additional details on what the new device will look like. The report notes that the new models will feature a 2732 x 2048 display with a design similar to both the iPad mini and iPad Air, with a source saying that it “literally looks like a big iPad.” The iPad Pro will also feature the same camera configuration as other iPad models, with a FaceTime camera on the front and an iSight camera on the rear. Sources have also reportedly confirmed a Force Touch-based screen will also be coming to the iPad Pro, as well as a — for the first time — a stylus accessory for enhanced drawing and design apps. The stylus combined with Force Touch capabilities will allow for apps to take advantage of pressure sensitivity.
Although Apple is expected to introduce the iPad Pro during next week’s event, the company still does actually plan to ship the new iPad in November, when it will debut alongside iOS 9.1, with the new iOS version providing specific improvements for the larger display, including optimized Split-Screen app support, Picture-in-Picture video playback, and more. Apple is also expected to debut the usual gamut of accessories alongside the iPad Pro, including Smart Covers and Smart Cases in both polyurethane and leather versions, and expanded Bluetooth keyboard support is said to be present in the new iPad model as well, with rumors that Apple may be working on a new keyboard accessory of its own.
A new report from 9to5Mac suggests that Apple may in fact debut the long-rumored “iPad Pro” during next week’s event, although the new larger tablet is still not expected to be available until November. Sources indicate that Apple plans to ship the new iPad in November, with it expected to be available for pre-order in late October. There has allegedly been some discussion within Apple indicating that the company may reveal the new iPad during next week’s event — however, this has not yet been confirmed and sources have also indicated that it is still possible that it could be held back for an October event. It also apparently remains unclear whether Apple will be able to source enough components to meet the demand expected by the enterprise market for the larger device.
The report also reveals that a new fourth-generation iPad mini would also be revealed alongside the iPad, but suggests that this may be tied to whether Apple chooses to announce the larger version next week. A third-generation version of the iPad Air is not expected to be revealed, as sources indicate it’s planned for a 2016 release.
In an interview with Good Morning America at Tuskegee Public School in Alabama, Apple CEO Tim Cook touted the company’s participation in the White House’s ConnectED initiative, which has delivered iPads to 114 schools in 29 states. Cook – himself a product of the public school system – said too many kids are stuck in a less-engaging analog environment at school that isn’t giving them the tools to succeed in a highly competitive digital world. “I think technology has to be a key part [of education] and that’s why we’re here,” Cook said. “Too many times today kids aren’t given the right for a great public education and this isn’t right. It’s not fair.” Cook also said establishing more diverse role models to encourage kids from various backgrounds to pursue a career in technology will benefit the industry in the long run, since “inclusion and diversity inspires innovation. And so we actually make better products because we’re more diverse.”
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is echoing previous speculation that Apple’s long-rumored 12.9-inch “iPad Pro” will come with a Force-Touch enabled screen and a stylus to make it easier for users to navigate on the larger surface (via MacRumors). Rumors about the “iPad Pro” have been circulating since 2013, but Kuo thinks Apple will finally start mass production some time in September or October, making the new tablet unlikely to appear at the September 9 iPhone event.
Also, mobile analytics firm Appsee thinks it has finally found “very concrete” proof that the larger “iPad Pro” exists. The company’s data logs show a new device — designated as “iPad6,8” — running live apps at 2048×2732, which is a much higher resolution than the 2048×1536 currently supported on the 9.7-inch iPad Air 2, Apple’s largest current iPad offering. Changes to the keyboard in iOS 9 when set to higher resolutions also seem to indicate a larger iPad is on the way.
Apple has released iOS 8.4.1 and iTunes 12.2.2, a pair of relatively minor updates that add fixes and enhancements mostly related to Apple’s Music and Beats 1 Radio services. iOS 8.4.1 notes fixes related to iCloud Music Library, adding songs to playlists, displaying album artwork, and resolves issues experienced by artists posting to Connect. iTunes 12.2.2 fixes a number of display and sorting problems related to Apple Music, and adds the ability to view a list of followed artists and see a schedule of upcoming Beats 1 programming. The iTunes update also allows artists using the Connect service to now post new content directly from within the iTunes app.
Apple is increasing its efforts to position the iPad as a work and business tool, The Wall Street Journal reports. With sales of the iPad having fallen recently, Apple has refocused its efforts on business computing, working with over 40 companies to build business solutions for the iPad. The move echoes last year’s partnership with IBM, but unlike that initiative, this appears to focus more on the small-to-medium business market.
Apple has reportedly involved officials from accounting firms and other partners in the business application program to train Apple business specialists, and has even invited some of its partners to present at a traditionally closed Apple sales conference. The company has also been working closely with its partners, reviewing apps and offering very detailed suggestions for improvements, and pairing up companies to build integrated solutions from complementary apps. Apple has internally referred to the initiative as the “mobility partner program,” although partners have been “discouraged” from using that name publicly. Further, in line with Apple’s typically secretive approach, many partners are still unclear on what their role will be in selling apps. The identities of most of the individual partners also remain undisclosed by Apple except in specific cases, so many partners don’t know who else is involved. Apple’s long-term goal has been described as hoping to sell curated bundles of applications for specific vertical markets, as opposed to simply leaving people to scour the App Store on their own, in turn positioning the iPad as a device that can be focused for specific business needs.
A resource file in the upcoming Safari 9 browser for OS X El Capitan seems to show support for a split-screen view on the iPad mini 4, 9to5Mac reports. Apple has already confirmed that iOS 9 will give some iPad users the ability to run two apps at once side-by-side, but the iPad Air 2 is the only current model with a processor strong enough to take advantage of it. A developer tool in El Capitan used for testing the responsiveness of websites also looks to simulate an iPad mini 3 running Safari in split-screen mode, but the iPad 3 mini’s hardware doesn’t support the split-screen feature. Those testing capabilities could be further proof that the upcoming iPad mini 4 — rumored to be a smaller version of the iPad Air 2 — will also have the power to handle split-screen functions.
The upcoming version of Force Touch found on Apple’s next iPhones will concentrate on shortcut actions, according to new report from 9to5Mac. On Apple Watch, Force Touch is used to reveal additional controls, acting as a clever way to provide more options on the small-screened smartwatch. Apps on the iPhone won’t have that same screen space issue, so it makes sense for Force Touch to offer other capabilities. A source in the report noted a number of examples, including: accessing voicemail by Force Touching the Phone app icon, Force Touching a track in Music to quickly access another menu, and using Force Touch in Maps to immediately start turn-by-turn directions. It’s said that iPhone Force Touch will be used in a number of ways, including an interface localized to the gesture, and via a shortcut list.
It also appears that Force Touch will be included in the upcoming “iPad Pro.” Though not a surprise, this report claims the feature will interact with the rumored iPad stylus. The report also notes that Apple was working on 4K video recording for the iPhone 6S, but it’s unknown as to whether the feature will make it into the newest devices next month.
A video tweeted by @onleaks appears to show 3D CAD images of the new iPad mini 4, which support previous rumors that the new device will shrink in thickness from 7.5 mm to 6.1mm. The precise renderings show the new iPad mini to have a similar form to the iPad Air 2 and a thickness of 6.13mm. Last month, KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted the slimmer iPad mini 4 will also have updated internal components akin to those in the iPad Air 2, with Macotakara speculating that those updates may include an 8MP iSight camera, a fully laminated display and antireflective screen coating.
Last week the @onleaks Twitter feed provided another CAD video showing the new iPhone will actually increase in thickness slightly, presumably to accommodate the new Force Touch screen. Details about both devices and a new Apple TV are expected to come from Apple at an event rumored to be scheduled for September 9. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple has released the fifth developer beta of iOS 9. Featuring a build number of 13A4325c, the fifth beta once again lacks specific release notes, but likely continues to focus on improving the stability and reliability of the new features in the operating system. A new watchOS beta with a build number of 13S5325c has also been posted, which can be installed via a configuration profile that requires the corresponding iOS 9 beta to be installed, along with new betas of Xcode 7 and Apple Configurator.
Sources close to Apple say the company is in talks to launch a mobile virtual network operator service in the U.S. and Europe, Business Insider reports. An MVNO would let Apple sell service for data, calls and texts directly to users, leasing the space from existing cellular carriers but allowing users to hop from one carrier to another to guarantee the best service available in the area. The service is still very much in a test phase, with telecom sources saying it could take at least five years to fully launch even if it proves viable. Apple has been in talks with various telecoms for years over the service, with sources calling plans for the virtual Apple network an “open secret.” A 2006 patent shows Apple’s long-standing interest in the concept of allowing its devices to jump from carrier to carrier, and the company’s rumored plan to use Siri to transcribe voicemails would help chip away at existing barriers to the company’s ability to offer its own cellular service. Apple’s iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 already feature built-in SIM cards that are compatible with multiple carriers, and the company is currently in discussions with the GSMA, aimed at a new “common architecture” to simplify allowing devices to operate on multiple carriers’ networks.