Everything you need to know before pre-ordering your iPhone 6 tonight

Friday, September 12, 2014

Apple hasn’t exactly confirmed the exact time yet, but iPhone 6 and 6 Plus preorders will likely begin tomorrow morning at 12:01AM PT, exactly… the same time iPhone 5S preorders started last year, and every other year.
Tim Cook thinks the iPhone 6 will trigger an avalanche of upgrades, making it Apple’s most wildly in-demand phone yet, and while Apple is attempting to balance the crush on their website by starting preorders in the middle of the night, it will, in all likelihood, still be a madhouse when Apple starts selling iPhones later tonight.
Hence this guide. We’re going to walk you through the best ways to make absolutely sure you get your iPhone 6 or 6 Plus pre-ordered right at the stroke of midnight and in your hands next Friday when it officially launches in the minimum amount of time, so you can go right back to sleep.
[Editors note: this post has been stickied to the top of Cult of Mac, but you'll find new Apple goodness by scrolling down]

Know which iPhone you want


Big or bigger? The choice between iPhones this year isn’t as easy as just picking a color and storage option. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have a number of differing features when it comes to the screen, battery, camera and even software. You better have your mind made up before pre-orders start.
For those who are still undecided, Killian is ready to guide you through the pros and cons of both the 6 and 6 Plus, but if you need a little extra convincing to go bigger, I’ve got 8 reasons why the 6 Plus is the best iPhone for your pocket, or fanny pack.

Check your Upgrade eligibility


Before you can even start thinking about buying a new iPhone you need to check if our lording carrier will permit you to upgrade without tacking on an astronomical upgrade fee. Luckily, checking your eligibility is easier than ever this year with the Apple Store app.

Once you load up the Apple Store you’ll see a big Upgrade you iPhone section that lets you see the pricing of each iPhone for your account. Tap the check eligibility pricing link and you’ll be taken to a page with to verify your phone number, billing zip code, and last four digits of SSN.

If you’re not eligible for the $199 introductory price, the Apple Store app will also tell you when you’ll qualify for a better subsidy. You can also check your eligibility from or your carrier’s site, but the process on the iOS app is much easier.

Sell your old device


The nice thing about Apple devices is they maintain their value much better than other smartphones, making them an easy source of cash when you’re looking to buy a new device.

There are myriad ways to sell or trade=in your old device. So many, in fact, we covered it in detail here.

Know What Time iPhone 6 Orders Start In Your Location

The world’s a big place, and while iPhone 6 and 6 Plus pre6orders kick off at midnight Cupertino time, depending on where you are, that could be quite a bit later.

Make sure to double check before you set your alarms. I find the easiest way to check the time zone difference is with Wolfram Alpha. Just go over to the link and type:
When it is midnight in Cupertino, CA what time is it in [Your City, State and/or Country]

For example, when I do that search, the results for Boston, MA tell me that when it is midnight in Cupertino, it is 3:00AM in Boston. Easy!

Set Your Alarm For 20 Minutes Ahead Of Time


We don’t really care what kind of alarm you use — the alarm app that comes with your iPhone, one of the many ones on the App Store, a bedside speaker dock or even a good, old fashion clanger — but whichever one you pick, make sure to set it twenty minutes before preorders go up.

Why? A couple of reasons. One, chances are, you’re going to have to wake up early for this, and you want to give yourself enough time to get to the computer if you’re groggy or hit the snooze button by force of habit.

Second? When Apple put up the iPad 2 order page, they said they’d put the page up at exactly midnight Cupertino time. However, the page was actually up a good five or ten minutes earlier than that, giving the early birds a first crack at the worm.

So be there early. Apple might not put up the iPhone 6 pre-order page early this time, but better safe than sorry.

Load Up The iPhone 6 Page


Not much more to it than that. When midnight hits, this page will change to show a big ‘Buy Now’ link underneath the iPhone 6 header. That’s what you’re looking for.

Refresh, Refresh, Refresh

Everything you need to know before pre-ordering your iPhone 6 tonight

Look, there’s no way around it: you’re going to have to refresh a lot when it gets close to midnight. Luckily, there are browser extensions that will do this for you. Here are some of the ones we like.
• Google ChromeChrome Refresh
• SafariAutorefresh
• FirefoxReloadEvery
• Opera: Offers auto-refresh abilities by default. Just right click on the iPhone website and select the Reload Every option.

Once you’ve installed the add-on or extension for your browser, set an interval, telling the browser how often to reload the iPhone 6 page. We suggest every twenty seconds, or three times a minute.

That’s a small enough interval that you’ll be sure to see the link go up as soon as Apple pushes it live, but not so often that you’ll bring Apple’s website to its knees.

Pre-ordering From A Site Other Than


This one is optional, but this year, Apple’s website isn’t really the best place to order the iPhone 6 from. The App Store app is much more streamlined and adds your information into areas automatically, that can’t won’t be the only site offering the iPhone 6 for preorder starting at midnight Cupertino time either. Verizon and Sprint will also be offering the iPhone 6 starting at midnight, and presumably AT&T will also follow suit, meaning that if Apple’s servers are being crushed, you may very well be able to order your iPhone with your carrier directly, or grabbing it from Best Buy, which is offering in-store pre-orders.

Here are the pages on AT&T, Sprint and Verizon where you’ll be able to find iPhone 5s available for preorder starting at midnight:

Set Up Your Default Shipping And Billing Info On And Enable Express Checkout

Everything you need to know before pre-ordering your iPhone 6 tonight

When the iPhone 6 becomes available for preorder from, you’re going to want to get through the checkout process as quickly as possible. Every second you delay increases the chance of the load on Apple’s servers being so great that when you make your order, it won’t go through.

If you’re ordering through, the easiest way to make getting a new iPhone 6 sent to you as much of a “one-click” affair as possible is to go to your Account Settings Page and make sure your payment information and shipping information are up to date, then scroll down to the Express Checkout field and turn the toggle to “ON.”

Now, when it’s time for you to buy an iPhone 6, you should have most of the fields populated for you automatically, including your patment info.

Set Up Some Text Shortcuts To Make Filling In The Order Form Easier

Everything you need to know before pre-ordering your iPhone 6 tonight

If you’re not ordering your iPhone 6 from Apple’s official site (and therefore can’t follow the steps above in enabling express checkout), and you don’t use iCloud keychain, you’re still going to want to fill out your order as quickly as possible. Why not set up some text shortcuts, then, to enter the information your carrier needs to get your iPhone to you as quickly as possible?

If you’re using a Mac, it’s super easy. Just go to Applications > System Preferences > Language & Text and click on the Text Tab. From there, you should make sure “Use symbol and text substitution” is ticked and press the + symbol at the bottom of the window to add a new substitution.

What you want to now do is come up with text shortcuts to fill out common fields as quickly as possible. You want to fill out the “Replace” field with an easy to remember shortcut you’re unlikely to type by accident. For example, I set up [address1] to be replaced with “19 Whatever Street”, [city] to be replaced with “Somerville” and [credit] to be replaced by my credit card.

Now, when the iPhone 6 preorder pages go live, you can just enter these shortcuts instead of doing a lot of typing.

Keep Your Fingers Crossed


In the past, iPhone preorder and launch days have been pretty stressful, but we’re hopeful that Apple will manage to satisfy iPhone 6 demand this time. We know they’ve been building iPhone 6 for months, but 6 Plus units might be in low supply if rumors of production issues are true.

We know that customers will be able to preorder iPhone 6 from more sites than ever before, so hopefully the bottleneck won’t be a problem like in recent years. Apple really smoothed out web issues on the last iPhone launches so we have every reason to believe everything will go smoothly – although this week’s web stream didn’t inspire confidence.

Still, there’s a lot of elements here beyond your control… everything from your alarm not going off, to Apple having an iPhone 6 Plus shortage. So a little prayer and superstition never hurts, does it?
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[Korean 18+] Natalie HD

Thursday, September 11, 2014

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First Hands-On Impressions with the New iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

Thursday, September 11, 2014
The biggest buzz from Apple’s announcement yesterday was the launch of the Apple Watch, but the other hardware announcement will affect far more people: the new iPhone models.
There are two of them, called the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. But you can call them the Bigger iPhone and the Much Bigger iPhone.
And you’ll be able to order them starting Sept. 12, or buy them outright on the 19th. The watch won’t be available until next year.
First Hands-On Impressions with the New iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
The big iPhone 6 Plus (left), the slightly less big iPhone 6 (middle) both in black compared with a white iPhone 5s. (Siemond Chan/Yahoo Tech)
I’ll have a full review soon; in the meantime, here’s what I learned after trying out the phones in Apple’s demonstration building yesterday (the huge white temporary building that had mystified Apple followers earlier this week).
Apple's temporary showroom
(Siemond Chan/Yahoo Tech)
Making big betterBoth phones follow roads paved by Samsung and other manufacturers, who are making both phones and screens bigger, as you can see here:
Diagram comparing Apple and Samsung smartphone sizes
(David Pogue/Yahoo Tech)
In any mobile gadget, size is always a tradeoff: You want the biggest possible phone when you’re looking at it, but you want the smallest possible phone when you’re carrying it.
Apparently, the people have spoken, and they fall into the looker camp: The people want bigger. (Steve Jobs was in the other camp. Of larger phones, he said at a 2010 press event, “No one is going to buy them.”)
Which is kind of weird, since the general direction of gadget growth over generations is usually smaller. As someone on Reddit remarked: If the iPhone keeps getting bigger, and the iPad keeps getting smaller, pretty soon they’ll meet in the middle.
Anyway, Apple has done everything engineeringly possible to minimize the downsides of having a big phone. The sleep switch, for example, is now on the right edge, so you can get to it one-handed.
The Home screens, for the first time, now rotate with the phone:
iPhone 6 in landscape orientation(Apple)
And if there’s something you want to tap on the top part of the screen — too far away for your puny little thumb to reach — you touch the Home button twice (not fully click it). The iPhone screen image slides downward so that the top half of the image is now in thumb reach.
iPhone 6(Siemond Chan/Yahoo Tech)
(Samsung’s big phones offer something like this — they can crop the entire screen, putting black letterbox bars around the top and left sides, so that everything is within thumb reach. Here are the details.)
Finally, Apple made the phone really, really thin. Thinner than previous phones. Thinner than the Samsung Galaxies or LG’s G3. About a quarter of an inch thin.
Comparison of iPhone thicknesses(Apple)
Good thing it’s made out of aluminum; if it were anything less rigid, you could make a paper airplane out of it.
The edges are rounded, not sharp and square, for the first time in several iPhone models. It feels good. You’re tempted to rub your fingers over it as though it’s a worry stone. You can’t believe how little it weighs. And you can now tell which way the screen is facing in your pocket by touch, for the first time since the iPhone 3 family.
What’s insideThe new iPhones bring the usual annual improvements:
• A faster processor. Nobody’s exactly been complaining about the speed of current smartphones, but Apple says this chip is faster than ever. (50 percent faster at graphics tasks, 25 percent faster overall.)
• A better screen. Higher contrast, darker blacks, wider angle of view.
• Faster WiFi, faster cellular. According to Apple, anyway. And the phone works with VoLTE, a service that may soon be offered by your cellphone carrier, in which the other guy’s voice sounds super clear and close, like an FM radio.
• Free WiFi calling. Apple also says you can place calls when you’re in a WiFi zone, from your own phone number, to save a few cellular minutes.
• More storage. You can buy the new phones in 16-, 64-, and now 128-gigabyte versions. That oughta hold a few selfies. (Still no removable memory card, though, as on some rival phones.)
The prices are $200, $300, and $400 for those three models. Add $100 for the larger iPhone 6 Plus. Each is available in white, black, or gold. They go on sale Sept. 19.
Electronic paymentsThere were also a few surprises at the iPhone announcement. These new phones have an NFC chip (near-field communication), just like most Android phones have had for a while. NFC is something else Steve Jobs had resisted.
So now, yes, you’ll be able to use your iPhone to pay for things wirelessly — at stores with special terminals. Apple says that 220,000 stores are already equipped, and lots of big-name chains (like Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Whole Foods, McDonald’s, and Disney) are coming on board.
The iPhone 6 being used to pay(Apple)
Of course, Google has tried this phone-wallet concept already, and it hasn’t caught on. Apple thinks that it will do better — because the process will be much simpler and faster and because the security will be better: The fingerprint reader on the Home button confirms that you’re you and not someone who stole your phone, and also Apple says it will not know what you buy or where.
I’m aware that thousands of people are horrified by this concept. They fear privacy invasion, not to mention change (and I don’t mean coins back from the cashier). Well, fine; they’re under no obligation to use this system.
But younger people are generally much more comfortable with electronic convenience — and if this Apple Pay thing catches on, that’s exactly what they’ll get, in spades.
Big camera changes There’s a new sensor in the iPhone 6’s camera, and some really terrific new features.
The iPhone 6 camera(Apple)
The big one: Apple says it has managed to get phase detectionautofocusing in there. Here’s what that means:
Cameras these days have two ways to focus. Phones and most small cameras use contrast detection. They compare the image’s sharpness at two different lens positions. Unfortunately, that means they must “hunt” for sharp focus, moving the lens past the proper point and then backtracking. It takes time.
Professional cameras, like SLRs, usually focus using a more expensive method called phase detection. These cameras contain sensors that split incoming light into two beams and then compare them. Phase detection is usually faster, and better for moving subjects. In the iPhone, it means quick, precise refocusing whileyou’re shooting video.
Apple says the iPhone 6 is now the first phone in the world to have phase detection. I cannot wait to shoot with this thing.
The 6 Plus (but not the smaller model) also gains optical stabilization, again catching up to rival phones from Samsung and others. That is, the lens actually jiggles in precise motion to counteract the handheld movement of the phone itself, for fewer motion-blurred photos.
There’s also a new slow-motion video option: 240 frames per second, or one-eighth normal speed. And there’s a Hyperlapse-style time-lapse video option. (That, actually, is a feature of iOS 8, which you’ll be able to download Sept. 18 no matter which recent iPhone you have.)
The 6’s prospectsYou know what? I truly expected these bigger iPhones to feel too big. At the very least, I expected that it would take some time to get used to them.
But the iPhone 6 felt right and natural from the first moment I hefted it. The extra screen space does wonders for maps, email, ebooks, photos, movies, and webpages. In fact, the iPhone 5s feels a little claustrophobic once you return to it.
The iPhone 6 Plus is another story. It’s a monster. It’s like holding an iPad to your head. Heaven help you if you sit down with this thing in your back pocket.
Video on an iPhone 6 PlysThe size of the iPhone 6 Plus makes it great for viewing photos or videos. (Siemond Chan/Yahoo Tech)
Then again, people buy those mega-phones, so who am I to know?
In any case, it’s hard to think of a single area where the new iPhones aren’t better than the old ones — design, comfort, screen, speed, storage, camera, even battery (it’s slightly better than the old one) — as long as you don’t mind the bigger size.
The Android/iPhone religious war will certainly continue. Each of these ecosystems locks you in, making you grouchy about the opposing camp’s attractive features.
But if it’s too inflammatory to say that the iPhone 6 looks fantastic, let’s at least say this: Apple fans who’d been looking longingly at the big-screen progress in Android phones will no longer feel left behind.
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The iPhone 6 camera is the only camera you need

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Your iPhone 6 will take better photos than most pocket cameras.
Your iPhone 6 will take better photos than most pocket cameras.

Two things strike me about the camera in the new iPhone 6 models. One is that you can take better pictures; the other is that the iPhone is now a much better place for viewing those pictures.
With their bigger, brighter screens — and iCloud’s new Photo Albums feature (which stores all your photos, ready to view, in iCloud) — the iPhone 6 and its larger sibling, the iPhone 6 Plus, are looking to be the best smartphones yet, from a photographic point of view.


The two new models get the same new sensor, the same ƒ2.2 lens and the same new front-facing camera (also ƒ2.2) that Apple says captures 81 percent more light, making your selfies way better. The front-facing camera also gets burst mode, which was available on the rear camera of the iPhone 5s. And both iPhone 6 models get the new “Focus Pixels” (more on those in a sec).
In fact, in camera terms, the only difference between the two iPhone 6 versions is the addition of Optical Stabilization on the bigger model, likely made possible due to the extra battery capacity and space in the iPhone 6 Plus.

Focus Pixels

The new iPhone sensor has what Apple calls Focus Pixels, which allow for much faster autofocus like you get in an SLR. In the olden days, cameras used a separate sensor just for focus, because the pixels used for focusing couldn’t also capture image info. Therefore, if you put them on the picture sensor, you’d be left with gaps in the image.
A few years ago, Fujifilm started using a sensor that used hybrid “sensels,” or sensor pixels, which could capture light and detect focus. And this led to compact cameras that could use the much-faster phase detection autofocus.

Phase Detection AF

This is the principal of on-sensor focus pixels, to get an idea of how Apple’s new sensor works. Image courtesy Fujifilm

Phase detection works by taking two images from different parts of the lens and comparing them. If they line up, the image is in focus. If they don’t, the camera knows how far apart they are and can calculate how much it needs to move the lens to focus. That’s it in principle — dead simple. It looks like a combo of new hardware (Focus Pixels) and software (the new image-processing chip is fast enough to compute the focus) is responsible for the changes.
The advantage of phase detection over the contrast detection normally seen in phones and compact cameras is that it’s faster and more accurate. With contrast AF, the camera roves around until the image is sharp. With phase detection, it knows exactly how far, and in which direction, to move the lens before it moves it. Thus it can make a quick adjustment to the right spot, in one go.
Phase detection also makes possible the iPhone 6’s new continuous focus in video mode. Contrast detection AF would have to hunt again for focus, even while you’re recording. Phase detection can work out where the focus should be, then go there, with no blurry wavering in between.
In practice, this should make focusing almost instant. Give that focusing is the slowest part of iPhone photography, that’s great news.


Video gets even more new features in the new iPhones, and some of these are thanks to iOS 8. Time-lapse video, for example, comes to the iPhone 5, too (although with Instagram’s amazing new Hyperlapse app delivering excellent time-lapse video, you might not care).

Manual controls are a big deal. Image courtesy Apple
Manual controls are a big deal. Image courtesy Apple

The most impressive feature is the new 240 frames per second slo-mo mode, half the speed (or double, depending on how you look at it) of the slo-mo in the iPhone 5s. You also get 60 fps video in HD in slo-mo so you can replicate the horrible soap-opera effect that Peter Jackson used to ruin the Hobbit movies.
You can now shoot HDR movies, too. HDR is the trick of taking three (or more) images at different exposures — one regular, one dark and one light — and combining them to make one image with more detail in the highlights and shadows. This iPhone 6 does the same, only for video.


Despite the lack of a big headline feature, this camera upgrade looks pretty amazing. Focus speed will help out every time you take a photo, and iOS 8 features like manual exposure and a self-timer (finally) will make the iPhone 6 work much more like a “real” camera. Which is great, as the iPhone is the only camera most people really need.

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Windows 9 Technical Preview screenshots leak

Thursday, September 11, 2014
Screenshots of the upcoming Windows 9 have leaked from its Technical Preview release. The screenshots show a refreshed user interface with some new, flat iconography, alongside the long awaited return of the classic Start menu.
Codenamed Threshold, Windows 9 is anticipated to bring some new features as well. One of them is the highly anticipated option to add a bunch of workspaces. Akin to Linux, those workspaces can hold different applications and make switching between different working environments a breeze.
As you’ll notice in one of the screenshots, Windows 9 runs on just 1GB of RAM, which means that Microsoft has done some serious under the hood work to optimize the OS.
Additionally, there’s a new notification center on the bottom right, which presumably will let you know about incoming mail and general new events from supported applications. Gone is the charms bar, too. It’s shortcuts to Search, Share and Settings will find their way on the top left corner of apps. However, Charms are rumored to stay on Windows 9 for tablets and touch devices.
Microsoft is expected to unveil Windows 9 to the world on September 30. Then the company might also release a preview of the OS, but full-blown release is expected to happen early 2015.
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Thursday, September 11, 2014

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Apple iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Watch coverage roundup

Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Apple's event is over and matched the number of iPhones from last year – the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus finally brought the long-awaited screen boost, but that's certainly not all there's to them. There was another device on stage too - the Apple Watch smart wearable. With so much new hardware you'd be forgiven if you've missed something, so here's a quick wrap-up of all the major announcements.

The Apple iPhone 6 Plus is not only the larger, but also the more premium new smartphone. It offers a 5.5" screen of 1080p resolution, superior battery life and optical image stabilization as its exclusive new features. Its price starts at the higher $299 on contract in the US though and €800 SIM free in Europe.
The smaller Apple iPhone 6 comes with a 4.7" screen of 750 x 1,334 pixels and lacks OIS, while its battery endurance is roughly equal to that of the iPhone 5s. Its price is lower tough - starting at $199 on contract in the US and €699 commitment-free in Europe.

Both new iPhones come with a new A8 chipset with M8 motion co-processor and Ion-strengthened glass over their screens that curves towards the edges. They also have an improved connectivity department with 20-band LTE support (maxing out at 150Mbps) and Wi-Fi ac support.
Here are the promo videos for the new couple that we've compiled for you to check out. If that's not enough for you, check out our iPhone 6 Plus vs. iPhone 6 vs. iPhone 5s shootout to see how the new Apple flagships compare to the previous one.
We've got their pricing and availability information neatly organized over here, while the price cuts that the now succeeded iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c took are detailed right here.

We've made the iPhone 6 stand up against the Samsung Galaxy Alpha and the Sony Xperia Z3. The iPhone 6 Plus on the other hand faced the LG G3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4.
Moving on to the "One more thing" of the press conference. The Apple Watch didn't quite deliver on the promises that it will be the prettiest watch on the market and with Tim Cook mentioning nothing on the battery life we are not sure it will be a game changer there too. However, it does come with a pretty neat user interface and offers two sizes and three versions with different straps, so you can easily customize it to your liking.

You can check out the Apple Watch promo videos to know what the company considers to be its strongest points.
Apple also made a few software announcements tonight. First the company mentioned that its App storehas reached 1.3 million apps. It also said that it will be releasing its latest iOS 8 OS version to compatible iDevices on September 17 and finally it unveiled its Apple Pay service for wireless payments that will be available on the iPhone 6 duo.
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