Apple Debuts New ‘Balloons’ Ad Focusing on New iOS 10 Screen Effects Feature in Messages – Mac Rumors

Apple today shared a new television ad on its YouTube channel, designed to introduce people to the new Screen Effects feature in iOS 10. In the minute-long spot, a sole red balloon drifts through mountains, over the sea, and through hilly terrain to reach the city, where it’s joined by hundreds of additional balloons floating through the streets.

The shot pans to an iPhone user who receives a “Happy Birthday” message, where balloons fill up the screen to accompany the text. It ends with the tagline “Expressive messages on iPhone 7. Practically magic.”

Introduced in iOS 10, Screen Effects are designed to make the messages experience more emotive, personal, and fun. Screen Effects temporarily alter the look of the Messages display with full screen animations that play alongside text messages. There are several animations, ranging from balloons and confetti to lasers and fireworks.

With certain keywords like “Congratulations!” or “Happy Birthday!” Screen Effects play automatically whenever the relevant text phrase is sent to an iPhone user who has iOS 10 installed.

Opinion: What’s the best iPhone 7 to buy?

With the release of the iPhone 7, customers have a lot of choice when it comes to purchasing the best iPhone for their personal circumstances. If you’re in the market for a new iPhone 7, which new iPhone should you consider buying? Have a look as we break down the possibilities inside.


Now that 32GB is the base amount of storage space in the iPhone 7, users can get away with virtually any storage variety without encountering an extreme storage space conundrum. That said, 32GB is still a small amount of space for anyone who plans on getting the most out of their new iPhone.

After some thinking, I’m convinced that the new sweet spot for storage space is the 128GB version of the iPhone. 128GB lends users a high storage ceiling. Only the most prolific storage users might look into the 256GB models of the iPhone 7. But if money is no issue, it certainly can’t hurt to opt for that much storage.


128 GB is the new storage sweet spot

Another thing that you’ll want to consider is resell value. In the resell market, I imagine that 128GB will be the most sought after model. With 256 GB, you’re reaching a level of diminishing returns as far as resell value goes. I don’t picture most buyers being in the market for a 256GB iPhone 7, and for that reason, it may be hard to recoup the extra money paid for the additional storage.

Conclusion: Easy. Get 128GB.



Color is highly subjective, but there are some definite things to consider here as well. Do you want to make it obvious that you have the latest and greatest? If so, then Black and Jet Black are your best options.

Do scratches and micro abrasions make you freak out? Then you’ll want to avoid the Jet Black version of the iPhone 7.

Do you use your iPhone naked, i.e. without a case? If so, and you aren’t worried about scratches and micro abrasions, then the Jet Black iPhone is by far the best feeling iPhone from a tactile perspective. I’ve long held the opinion that the plastic iPhone 5c was the best handling iPhone up until this moment in time, but the Jet Black model easily dethrones it.


As far as tactile feel goes, the Jet Black finish is by far the best

If you want to play it safe with regard to potential resell value and durability, then the regular matte Black iPhone 7 is probably the safest bet. It looks good too, but it’s just not as pretty or as grippy as the Jet Black iPhone 7. Of course, you could also opt for an iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case or one of Apple’s Silicone or Leather cases.

Something you’ll also want to consider is availability. There’s way more Gold, Rose Gold, and Silver iPhone 7s available than there are Black and Jet Black iPhone 7s.


Black (matte) looks great as well, and is less prone to scratches

Conclusion: Most people should get Black, but if you can handle scratches and abrasions and are willing to go naked, Jet Black is the hands-down winner from a tactile standpoint. If availability is the deciding factor, then you might have to choose Gold, Silver, or Rose Gold instead.


Should you buy the iPhone 7 or the iPhone 7 Plus? This is a question that many of you have no doubt pondered over. I’ve been in the regular-sized iPhone camp for some time now, but the Plus model, with its new iSight Duo camera is quite the compelling option.

Yet, even with such a wanted feature, the Plus model is simply too big for some users. If you’ve tried a Plus before and hated the experience, then the presence of the iSight Duo camera isn’t enough to make up for that in my opinion.


The iPhone 7 Plus isn’t for everyone, but features distinct advantages

However, if you’re comfortable with the Plus model, or even if it’s just a satisfactory experience, the extra camera features are a big draw. This is especially true if you take iPhone photography seriously.

The all new Portrait mode allows users to get that highly desirable depth of field effect in portrait shots with virtually no effort. The presence of the extra 56mm telephoto lens is also wonderful for close up shots and macro photography.


Portrait mode is an iPhone 7 Plus exclusive

But don’t forget that the regular iPhone 7 is no slouch when it comes to camera optics. It features the same ƒ/1.8 28mm wide angle lens that’s found on the iPhone 7 Plus, and it also features optical image stabilization, something previous 4.7″ iPhones lacked.

The iPhone 7 Plus has another big advantage, though, and that’s screen size. The Full HD display allows you to see more content on screen at once, and many apps are designed to take advantage of the extra real estate in exciting ways.


You’ll find many apps that take advantage of the iPhone 7 Plus’ extra real estate

Conclusion: This is by far the hardest decision of the three, but if you can handle the large size, and iPhone photography is of the utmost importance to you, get the iPhone 7 Plus. If you dislike large phones or find them uncomfortable to use, or if the new camera options don’t move the needle for you, you should consider opting for the iPhone 7.


First Option Secondary Option
Storage 128GB You should really get 128…(…unless you’re an extreme prolific/anemic storage user.)
Color Black (Matte) Jet Black(If going caseless and you don’t care about scratches)
Size iPhone 7 Plus iPhone 7(If you dislike large phones, and photos take a back seat)

Which iPhone did you end up ordering? Do you agree with most of these points, or do you recommend a different configuration? Sound off down below in the comments section.

If you’d like to see more of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus’ top features? Be sure to watch our full overview video below:

Hands-on: How the new Lightning EarPods compare to the old 3.5mm EarPods

It’s going on two weeks since the iPhone 7 first went on sale, which means that many of us have had time to sit back and digest the experience. We covered the iPhone 7 via an unboxing video with a glance at some of the device’s top features, but now we’ll take a closer look at the new Lightning EarPods versus the old EarPods with 3.5mm headphone jack.

Sound Quality

If you’ve ever used EarPods, you’ll know exactly what to expect with the new Lightning EarPods. Sound quality is the same on the new EarPods as it is on the old versions.

I wasn’t able to discern any noticeable differences when comparing the sound of both sets head-to-head in a blind test. Some people may disagree with this, sound is highly subjective after all, but I’m sticking with my belief that the sound quality, if not exactly the same, is too close for my 35-year-old ears to differentiate.

EarPods are serviceable listening tools — good enough for a pack-in, but probably not worth buying separately.


Build Quality

The build quality of the new Lighting EarPods is almost exactly the same. The same white shiny plastic is found on the earbuds, along with the same inline remote connected via the same rubber wire enclosure.

However, there are two notable differences between the Lightning EarPods and the regular EarPods with the 3.5mm headphone connector:

  1. The Lightning connection replaces the 3.5mm connection. This is the most obvious change. It means that new EarPods will only work with Lightning-enabled devices like iPhones, iPads, and the iPod touch (but not iPod nano). Inside the Lighting connector housing is a tiny digital-to-analog converter (DAC), which was revealed during a teardown by a Vietnamese website last week.
  2. The Lightning EarPods are a little over three inches longer than the old EarPods with 3.5mm headphone jack.

You’ll also notice that, unlike other Lightning cables and adapters, Apple’s new Lightning EarPods have a rubber gasket at the end of the cable where the Lightning connection is.

It’s unclear as to why Apple has incorporated this gasket, but it could be there as a way to protect the small DAC housed within. You’ll notice that the same gasket is found on Apple’s Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter, which we’ll talk about next.


Notice the rubber gasket above where the DAC is housed

Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter

Apple has included a Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter inside every iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus box. Many seemed to doubt Apple’s willingness to include such a dongle along with the iPhone 7, but it proved that it was eager to help ease the transition from the old 3.5mm standard.


The tiny Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter

The Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter is extremely tiny, measuring just a hair over three inches in length. On one end of the adapter is a female 3.5mm jack, and on the opposite end, a Lightning connector.

This adapter allows users to connect older headphones to Apple devices lacking 3.5mm headphone jacks. If you own several pairs of legacy headphones, you’ll probably need more than one adapter. Apple sells these adapters for $9.00 on its website, and you can find similar adapters on Amazon. Because Apple sells the adapters so cheap, I’d recommend paying an extra dollar or two for the real thing versus a third-party offering.

Using Lightning headphones on older devices

Can Lightning EarPods be used on iOS devices other than the iPhone 7? Absolutely. Even devices that have the 3.5mm headphone port can use Lightning-enabled headphones. For example, I was able to listen to music on my iPhone 6s and my 12.9″ iPad Pro using the Lightning EarPods.


The old plastic EarPods case vs the new cardboard case

And Lightning EarPods aren’t the only Lightning-enabled headphones available on the market. Jordan rounded up a list of Lightning and wireless headphones, and you can find more listed on Amazon.

Can you use Lightning headphones and 3.5mm headphones at the same time?

If you have a device with both a Lightning port and a 3.5mm headphone port, you may be curious about what happens when you use two pairs of headphones on the same device. You can plug both devices in with no issue, but you will only be able to hear music on one device at a time.


Two EarPods plugged in simultaneously

The device that you plug in last gets priority. For example, if you’re listening to Lightning EarPods on your iPhone 6s, and you plug in a pair of Audio-Technica ATH-M50xs using its 3.5mm headphone jack, the Audio-Technica’s will handle sound output, and the Lightning EarPods will go silent.

What about using the Square Credit Card Reader and other 3.5mm headphone jack peripherals?


3.5mm dongles like the Square Credit Card Reader work fine

The Square Credit Card Reader works perfectly fine when connected to Apple’s Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter. Square even notes this as you go about setting up the Square Reader for the first time within its app.


As controversial as the decision to nix the 3.5mm headphone port was, the Lightning EarPods don’t seem to inspire much debate. It’s the same run-of-the mill pack-in that we’ve grown used to over the years, except it features a different type of connector on the end.

What do you think? Do Lightning EarPods sound better or worse? Are you adjusting to life without the 3.5mm headphone port, or do you sorely miss it?

If you’re looking to go wireless, be sure to check out our hands-on video of the Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones. These headphones contain Apple’s new W1 wireless chip, the same chip that will appear in the company’s upcoming, and highly-anticipated, AirPods.

Brilliant Tip Makes iPhone Run Faster

Say goodbye to crashing apps and Safari pages loading at a glacial pace forever. Thanks to Marc Forrest, an IT guru and the web world’s new favorite iGuy, the internet has been #blessed with a trick that will clear the random access memory (RAM) on your phone and make it go way faster.

 How do you do it, you ask? Once you’re on the homepage of your screen, hold down the power button until the “Slide To Power Off” message appears. Now take your finger off and hold down the home button for five seconds and voilà!

But does this thing actually work? Realizing that it seems a bit too good to be true, Marc tweeted a photo of his own iPhone to show the difference in memory after he tried out his own trick.

On top of that, the internet’s verdict seems to be all in favor of giving this hack a go.

Three cheers for no more interruptions while scrolling through your Facebook feed!

Dark wallpapers to compliment your new iPhone 7


iPhone 7 is slowly making its way to customers. With around a two month wait time on deliveries, Apple fans are still anxiously awaiting there device. Representing new matte black and jet black color ways, having the right wallpaper is critical. To ensure a pure luxurious black experience, you will need an equally impressive wallpaper collection.

Wallpaper of the Week section curates new images for your favorite devices. Each Sunday, you can download a handful of new wallpapers that were submitted by readers or sourced from the Internet.

iPhone 7 wallpaper collection


Download “Black Earth:”  iPhone







The following single wallpaper is a recreation of the advertising image found on Apple’s website. We received a lot of requests for it over the last two weeks and our friends at GrafiXpressions recreated it.


The following series was sourced via, which regularly posts wallpapers formatted for iOS devices.




















Apple releases iOS 10.0.2 with fix for Lightning headphones bug on iPhone 7, more | 9to5Mac

Apple has just released the first bug fix centric iOS 10.0.2 update today for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The update includes fixes that should address issues where Lightning headphones would momentarily lose playback controls as well as other fixes.

Today’s update focuses on three major bugs, with the first being the annoyance plaguing users who have moved to using Lightning headphones daily. While intermittent, headphones plugged into the Lightning port would lose playback controls from headphones causing more headaches than necessary. The bug didn’t help reinforce Apple’s desire to remove the headphone jack when the majority of headphone users were just going to use the Lightning EarPods included in the packaging or the provided 3.5 mm to Lightning adapter. Today’s update should resolve those issues gracefully.

iOS 10.0.2’s release notes:

  • Addresses an issue that could prevent headphone audio controls from temporarily not working
  • Resolves an issue that caused Photos to quit for some users when turning on iCloud Photo Library
  • Fixes an issue that prevented enabling some app extensions


Pro surfer puts the iPhone 7 & 7 Plus to the latest OTT waterproofing test

While Apple makes rather modest water-resistance claims for the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, suggesting nothing more demanding than a cycle ride in the rain, that hasn’t stopped people putting them through some rather more extreme tests.

We’ve already seen the phone survive immersion in water, soda and coffee, and even dropped into 35 feet of water. This latest test has pro surfer Kai Lenny take the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus out into the waves …


He starts with the iPhone 6 and 6s, which unsurprisingly don’t survive for long – both dead within five minutes.

The iPhone 7, however, is still working perfectly after a full 30 minutes of surfing. The 7 Plus doesn’t do quite so well, with the audio badly affected after the same 30-minute ride.

Don’t try this at home, though: Apple officially rates the waterproofing at 1m immersion in still water for 30 minutes – and even then, water damage isn’t actually covered by the warranty.

But hey, the tests are fun to watch.