Apple announces ‘iPhone 7’ September 7 event, Apple Watch 2 and MacBook Pros may be unveiled

Mark your calendars, folks, it’s official. Apple has issued press invites to its next media event on September 7 at Bill Graham Civic Center in San Francisco at 10 am PT. The company is widely expected to unveil new iPhones and could unveil new MacBook Pros and the Apple Watch 2 at the same event.

 

The new iPhones are generally expected to feature a very similar design to the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, which suggests Apple could save the ‘iPhone 7’ name for 2017 models and use a version of the iPhone 6 name (like iPhone 6 SE) this year. While it’s unclear what Apple will name the new iPhones, we’ll go with the consensus of iPhone 7 until we learn otherwise.

While both models are expected to gain faster A10 processors and drop the 16GB tier for 32GB entry models, the most dramatic change is likely coming to the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus and not the 4.7-inch iPhone 7: a dual camera system. This could be used to emulate optical zoom where digital zoom basically crops a shot and loses detail.

space-black

Both iPhone 7 models are expected to introduce a darker color for the black-front model. The iPhone 5 introduced a dark blue color called slate that was prone to scuffing, and Apple has played with versions of its ‘space gray’ gunmetal gray color since the iPhone 5s. The iPhone 7 is expected to feature a return to a dark blue color or maybe even a near black ‘space black‘ option.

As you may notice in the alleged leaked cases above, Apple is also widely expected to drop the 3.5-mm headphone jack on both iPhone 7 models in a push toward Lightning, Bluetooth, and AirPlay audio.

Apple Watch

As for the Apple Watch 2, the anticipated refresh will mark the first update since the current model was unveiled two years ago and released a year and a half ago. The design is expected to look generally the same, but much needed speed improvements are on the way and a GPS chip for mapping workouts and using location services is expected.

And 9to5Mac readers will be the first to express the need for updated MacBook Pros. The current lineup of Retina MacBook Pros features a design that hasn’t been refreshed in years and internals that sorely need updated.

The good news is that rumors have been very promising for MacBook Pros this year (as you can see with the render below). A slimmer design, Touch ID, and a dynamic OLED touch panel in place of static function hardware keys are all in the cards for the next MacBook Pro update.

macbook-pro-concept

While new MacBook Pros are expected sometime this year, recent reports have claimed Apple could hold off on unveiling these new models at this September event. In recent years, Apple has held an iPhone-focused event in September, then an iPad-focused event in October, and Macs have appeared when ready.

Last year, however, Apple packed all of its new products into a single fall event held in September including new iPhones, new Apple Watch colors and bands, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and the fourth generation Apple TV. Apple later released the 9.7-inch iPad Pro at its March event earlier this year, new iPads aren’t expected until next year, and rumors of an updated Apple TV haven’t surfaced aside from one story late last year.

Apple will also likely give stage time once again to its upcoming software updates: iOS 10, macOS Sierra, watchOS 3, and tvOS 10.

Apple working on new MacBook Air, Pro, and iMac

Martin Hajek MacBook Pro Render5

Apple is preparing new Mac laptops and desktops for launch as soon as October, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports.

Apple has prepared a new version of its entry-level MacBook Air and an updated iMac desktop for launch this year. The MacBook Air refresh will include a USB-C port, which hasn’t been included on previous MacBook Air models.

The USB-C port is a reversible, next-generation plug that can be used for power as well as data transfer. Apple’s current MacBook sports a single USB port. The last time the MacBook Air received a full update was in March, 2015.

Apple also plans to launch a new iMac in October, Gurman reports. Apple’s newest desktop will include options for improved graphics cards from AMD.

Apple has been widely rumored to release new MacBook Pros this fall as well, equipped with a touchscreen area at the top of the keyboard that’s separate from trackpad. That new feature is called the “Dynamic Function Row” internally, according to the report.

The feature would allow specific buttons to be shown for specific apps. For example, “the iMovie video editor would offer controls for cutting clips and a more-precise volume slider,” according to the report.

Apple is also working on a new high-definition “5K” monitor that will replace the 27-inch Thunderbolt display discontinued earlier this year.

But some of Apple’s future iPad plans indicate that it thinks that its iOS devices can become the first choice for a productivity-focused computer.

A new PC replacement

The report also indicates that Apple is planning a major free upgrade to its iPad software, possibly by next year.

New iPad software upgrades may include expanded support for Apple’s stylus, as well as hardware performance improvements. Next year’s iPad might have a 10.5-inch screen, up from a 9.7-inch screen, for example.

Apple will launch a new version of its iPhone and iPad software this fall called iOS 10. The company is also planning to reveal a new version of the iPhone at an event in San Francisco next week, although it is unlikely to show off its new Macs at the event.

Wallpapers of the week: Apple logo

Apple Logo iDownloadBlog wallpaper splash

Approaching the iPhone 7 announcement date, it seemed fitting to host Apple logo wallpapers to hype the event. Shortly, an Apple media invitation will announce the event date and the excitement will begin. But, why wait for the invitation to deck out your iOS devices?

Apple logo wallpapers

papers.co-ng07-apple-logo-blue-dark-40-wallpaper

DownloadiPad (including Pro); iPhone

papers.co-al58-logo-art-apple-rainbow-minimal-dark-40-wallpaper

DownloadiPad (including Pro); iPhone

papers.co-ai62-apple-logo-love-mania-blue-40-wallpaper

DownloadiPad (including Pro); iPhone

papers.co-aq20-photo-apple-store-event-city-architecture-dark-bw-40-wallpaper

DownloadiPad (including Pro); iPhone

papers.co-vh52-apple-event-march-2015-purple-pattern-art-40-wallpaper

DownloadiPad (including Pro); iPhone

papers.co-mp47-apple-store-building-city-40-wallpaper

DownloadiPad (including Pro); iPhone

DownloadiPad (including Pro); iPhone

 

The Wolfe turns your MacBook into a high-end gaming rig

The Wolfe

Apple is criticized for not catering to gamers — and rightly so — but you might be surprised to learn that Macs do have the potential to be great gaming machines. Even portables like the MacBook can become high-end gaming rigs, thanks to the Wolfe.

The Wolfe combines your Mac with a real desktop GPU — the same kind of video card found in dedicated gaming or video editing machines — making it immensely more powerful than it typically is with the integrated graphics Apple provides.

As standard, the Wolfe comes equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 GPU, but there’s also a Wolfe Pro, which is equipped with a GeForce GTX 970. Later, you’ll also be able to get the Wolfe with NVIDIA’s new GTX 1060.

Alternatively, you can pick up the Wolfe DIY, which gives you all the parts you need to connect your own GPU to a Mac.

The Wolfe provides up to five times the graphical performance of a typical notebook, while the Wolfe Pro can deliver up to ten times the performance. This becomes really apparently in benchmark tests like Heaven.

While a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Intel Iris Pro 5200 graphics can deliver less than 15 frames-per-second in these tests, the same machine with the Wolfe can deliver over 50 fps. Hook up the Wolfe Pro and you can expect well over 70 fps.

The Wolfe is even powerful enough to make the Mac compatible with Oculus Rift and HTC Vive virtual reality headsets.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thewolfe/the-wolfe-supercharge-your-laptop/widget/video.html

Getting setup with the Wolfe is as easy as plugging it into your Mac using the Thunderbolt connector, then connecting the power cable. It’s that simple!

The Wolfe is currently available on Kickstarter, with prices starting at $399 for the standard model and $449 for the Wolfe Pro. The Wolfe DIY costs just $269, but of course you’ll need to provide your own GPU.

Barbra Streisand calls Tim Cook to fix her biggest gripe with Siri

Barbra Streisand

Getting iPhone bugs fixed is apparently super-easy if you’re a world-famous diva.

Barbra Streisand says she recently had a huge bone to pick with Apple over the way Siri pronounces her last name. So the singer did what only Barbra Streisand could do: She dialed Tim Cook’s personal phone number.

“She pronounces my name wrong. ‘Streisand’ with a soft ‘s’ like sand on the beach — I’ve been saying this for my whole career,” Streisand told NPR in a new interview.

“And so what did I do? I called the head of Apple, Tim Cook, and he delightfully agreed to have Siri change the pronunciation of my name finally, with the next update on September 30th. So let’s see if that happens, because I will be thrilled.”

Of course, Streisand could have just taught Siri how to pronounce her tricky last name on her own, but that’s not how divas roll.

Mysterious ‘Touch disease’ plagues iPhone 6 owners

iPhone 6 Plus 3

A strange flaw in the design of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus has begun to plague a growing number of users, according to a new report that claims third-party repair experts are swamped with requests to fix what the Genius Bar can’t.

The repair gurus at iFixit say the defect is allegedly more common with the iPhone 6 Plus and causes a gray flickering bar at the top of the display while making the touchscreen completely unresponsive.

Many people have allegedly taken their iPhones to Apple to have the “Touch Disease” cured, but were told nothing can be done to fix the problem because the iPhones are already out of warranty. Apple is apparently aware of the problem because their support forums are flooded with complaints, yet its not doing anything about it.

Some iPhone owners plagued with Touch Disease have been able to fix the issue momentarily by applying pressure to the display, but the gray bar keeps coming back and touch functionality grows worse.

The only way to fix the defect is replace the logic board, or the Touch ICs on the logic board. You can also just replace the entire iPhone.

This crazily expensive levitating Apple Watch charger is very silly (but I still want one)

You’re officially the person with everything if you’re seriously planning to lay out $249 on a levitating Apple Watch charger – though Kickstarter backers can get one for slightly less at $199, or $159 if you’re very quick.

Since the Apple Watch itself charges inductively, the designers of the LIFT charger decided to take things one step further by using magnets to suspend the charger above its powered base, allowing it to float freely in mid air …

How did we do it? Our proprietary induction system is inspired by Tesla’s original ideas around transferring electricity through the ether. We took this radical concept and adapted it to be able to transfer power while magically levitating in space without the need for any wires.

Levitation Works says that its design was inspired by Porsche Design, and it shows – you could easily imagine the machined aluminum unit with a Porsche logo on it.

The base is made from a mix of aluminum and ceramic, which the company says was chosen for its combination of non-conductivity and suitability for precise tolerances. When not being used to charge your Watch, you can also swap in an optional levitating light.

There is one practical touch alongside the frivolity: the floating part of the unit contains a built-in battery capable of recharging the Watch twice without the base, making it a convenient charger for a weekend away.

It seems that there’s no shortage of takers: with 34 days to go, the project has already more than quadrupled its $44k goal. Check it out over at Kickstarter.