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Best apps with 3D Touch for iPhones 6s!

Today, 12:00 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News


Why tap and tap when you can press and go with these great 3D Touch-enabled apps for iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus!

The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus come with 3D Touch, a new interaction technology that makes multitouch multidimensional. While Apple has enabled it in many of the company's own apps, they've also provided a way for App Store apps to enable 3D Touch as well. There aren't a lot yet, and many more will come, but here are some of the best so far!

3D Touch offers Home screen actions, peek and pop shortcuts, and pressure sensitivity. Apps can adopt one or all of those. If you're curious how it all works, check out our 3D Touch explainer. If all you want is the apps, keep reading!



Instagram, the social photo sharing network now owned by Facebook, is turning 5 this week. It's also seriously upping it's game with 3D Touch support for Home screen actions like New Post, View Activity, Search, and Direct. In the Instagram app you can 3D Touch a name to see their account card and swipe up to get Unfollow, Turn on Post Notifications, and Send Message options. You can also 3D Touch on a photo in grid view to preview it, and swipe up to get Like, Comment, and Send Message.



The world's most popular collection network, Pinterest, has added 3D Touch support for Home screen actions. Now, with the press of a finger, you can launch straight into trending, search pins, and create a board. Once inside a board, you can also 3D Touch to peek at items and pin, link, and send items. Those options aren't implemented in the standard 3D Touch quick action way—they show up in a custom radial menu right where your finger is. Similar to how instant sending in Messages works, all you have to do is slide and you're on your way.



Dropbox, the most popular non-Apple storage provider on iOS, has added 3D Touch for both Home screen actions and peek and pop. Actions include the most recent file update, offline files, upload photo, and search. In the Dropbox app, you can peek at media files like photos and music, and swipe up to get options like send link, make available offline, rename, move, and delete. It makes Dropbox much faster and more convenient to use.



Yes, iMovie is an Apple app and it's even coming pre-installed on larger-capacity iPhones6s, but it's still got the beginning of a really solid 3D Touch implementation. Home screen actions include new movie and your last three movie projects. Inside the iMovie app, you can peek at a movie project and watch it play before opening it, to make sure you've found the right one. It's super handy once the number of projects start adding up. Unfortunately, there's no pressure sensitive fast forward or rewind yet, but that feels like something Apple needs to add to the media player in general...

Voice Dream Writer


When Apple launched 3D Touch they launched it with VoiceOver, their screen reader technology for the blind and visually impaired. Voice Dream Writer, which reads the written word in attempt to help everyone produce better work, returns the favor by implementing 3D Touch in a variety of thoughtful ways. Home screen actions include new documents and new from clipboard. You can also peek at your files to make sure you have the right one before opening it. What's more, you can press on the fast forward button to increase the speed of the screen reader. It's incredibly cool!



One of our favorite calculator apps is embracing 3D Touch in a couple of clever ways. You get Home screen actions, of course, but you also get to configure them in settings so they're exactly the way you want them. You can include any four of new calculation, paste clipboard, last conversion, use [your choice of] layout, convert [your choice of measures], last function, last memory, last result, last y register, open constants, open conversions, open functions, open tape, and run [your choice of function]. There are multiple choice options as well, so you can have multiple layouts or conversions, for example. You can also peek at the tape, registers, or RPN stack. It's a seriously cool way to calculate. (The free version doesn't include the settings or peek, but you can unlock them via in-app purchase... or just get the full version and enjoy!)



Like Automator on Mac, Workflow on iPhone lets you make routine tasks into repeatable magic. With 3D Touch, you can use Home screen actions to launch right into your most important workflows. In the Workflow app, you can peek at your 'flows to reminder yourself what's in them or make sure you're choosing the right one. You can also swipe up to get options like rename, duplicate, delete, and share. It's automation accelerated.



OpenTable not only enjoys Siri access on the iPhone but now also includes 3D Touch. Home screen actions let you launch right into your favorites or access upcoming reservations. With peek you can take a closer look at a joint before making a reservation and, if you don't like it, you can move on without first having to move back. It's super convenient. There are also preview actions for the next available reservation times, which is beyond super convenient.



The original square photo filter app, Hipstamatic is as hip as ever, thanks to 3D Touch. With Home screen actions you can shoot food, shoot sunset, shoot portrait, or edit your last photo. Yeah, it's like that. Once you launch the Hipstamatic app, you can also peek at any photo to make sure you select the right one, and get quick actions for mark favorite, duplicate and edit, share, and trash.

Scanner Pro


With the new 12 megapixel camera you can "scan" documents using your iPhone with better clarity than ever. With Scanner Pro, you can use Home screen actions to initiate a new scan or scan from an existing photo. Within the Scanner Pro app, you can preview scans so you can make sure you're always selecting the right one, and you can swipe up to get additional options like edit, retake, share, and delete.

The developer, Readdle, has also added Home screen actions and peek to their file browser, Documents.



Everyone's favorite cross-platform note-taker has added 3D Touch to make note-taking even more convenient. You get Home screen actions like new note, take photo, and set reminder. In the Evernote app, you can peek at notes and work chats, and swipe up for options including add to shortcuts, set reminder, and share.

And more!


We've highlight apps that implement multiple types of 3D Touch because that provides for the best experience. There are several apps that have only just begun implementing 3D Touch, however, and some are still worth a look.

  • Launch Center Pro: Configurable Home screen actions to launch your favorite LCP actions.
  • Camera+: Home screen actions for photo, selfie, macro, and lightbox.
  • Twitter: Home screen quick actions.
  • Endless Alphabet: Pressure sensitivity to make them letters DANCE!
  • Magic Piano: The harder you press, the more power you put behind the note you play.
  • Omni apps: Home screen actions for OmniFocus, OmniOutliner, OmniGraffle, and OmniPlan.
  • Things: Home screen actions for getting things done.
  • Apple Store: Home screen actions for shop, stores, and orders.
  • Shazam: Home screen actions for Shazam now and visual Shazam.

If you've got any 3D Touch favorites I missed, let me know in the comments!





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How to turn off system integrity protection on OS X (but...

02 Oct 2015

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
<div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"><p><a href='http://www.imore.com...p-malware-away'title="How to turn off system integrity protection on OS X (but don't)"><img src='http://www.imore.com/sites/imore.com/files/styles/large_wm_brw/public/field/image/2015/09/os-x-el-capitan-macbook-pro-privacy-hero.jpg?itok=zdcAsyne' /></a></p> <p class="intro">El Capitan makes it harder than ever for malware to be a problem on the Mac thanks to System Integrity Protection.</p> <p>System Integrity Protection (SIP) is a new way of managing access to essential system files in <a href="http://www.imore.com/os-x-el-capitan">OS X El Capitan</a>, but it's kicking some older software to the curb. So why is Apple implementing it?</p> <!--break--> <p>Malware is a really serious problem not just on Windows but the Mac too—it seems like almost every week, we get a new report of some sort of malware or adware that's attacking Apple users. Most of these outbreaks are contained quickly, fortunately, and mitigated by the built-in anti-malware and technologies like Gatekeeper.</p> <p>Apple can always do better, and in El Capitan, they have. To help bolster the Mac's security against malware infections, Apple's come up with System Integrity Protection</p> <p>Before El Capitan, people could easily modify, or allow to be modified, core system files used by OS X by entering their administrator password. It's how, for example, we grant software installers "root" access to setup apps.</p> <p>That's why, El Capitan has gone "rootless". System Integrity Protection makes sure the vital system files are safe from modification. This is a <em>good</em> thing: It should reduce the likelihood that you can accidentally infect yourself with malware, or that someone can gain access to your Mac or your files by escalating privilege exploits remotely.</p> <p>If you use system-modifying utilities and system extensions that made essential changes to the way OS X works, however, you may notice that they no longer function or need to be updated.</p> <p>SIP created problems for some developers during El Capitan's public beta development period over the summer. In many cases those problems have either been straightened out or are getting straightened out now. So <em>check with the makers of the apps you use</em> to see if they have updates.</p> <p>And of course stay tuned to iMore, because we'll report on key updates as they become available.</p> <p>Of course, you <em>do</em> have ultimate control over what happens on your Mac, so you can deactivate System Integrity Protection if you want to. I strongly advise <em>against</em> doing this, but I completely understand that you may be dependent on software that <em>has</em> to work regardless. I'll just reiterate one last time that SIP has been instituted in El Capitan for a reason: To protect you and to protect your Mac. Apple takes your privacy <em>very</em> seriously.</p> <h2>How to turn off System Integrity Protection in El Capitan</h2> <ol><li>Click the <strong></strong> menu.</li> <li>Select <strong>Restart...</strong></li> <li>Hold down <strong>command-R</strong> to boot into the Recovery System.</li> <li>Click the <strong>Utilities</strong> menu and select <strong>Terminal.</strong></li> <li>Type <tt>csrutil disable</tt> and press <strong>return</strong>.</li> <li>Close the Terminal app.</li> <li>Click the <strong></strong> menu and select <strong>Restart...</strong>.</li> </ol><p>If you decide later you want to re-engage SIP (and I <em>earnestly</em> hope that you do), repeat these steps, changing <tt>csrutil disable</tt> to <tt>csrutil enable</tt> instead.</p> <p>Again, SIP has been instituted in El Capitan for a reason — to improve OS X security, and reduce the risk of anyone who isn't supposed to from getting to your data. But as in all things, your mileage may vary. Just be careful!</p> <p>[custum:elcapbox]</p> </div></div></div><br clear='all'/><br/><br/><a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/241225340334/u/49/f/616881/c/33998/s/4a5cede3/sc/28/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/241225340334/u/49/f/616881/c/33998/s/4a5cede3/sc/28/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"/></a><br/><br/><a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/241225340334/u/49/f/616881/c/33998/s/4a5cede3/sc/28/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/241225340334/u/49/f/616881/c/33998/s/4a5cede3/sc/28/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"/></a><br/><br/><a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/241225340334/u/49/f/616881/c/33998/s/4a5cede3/sc/28/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/241225340334/u/49/f/616881/c/33998/s/4a5cede3/sc/28/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"/></a><br/><br/><a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/241225340334/u/49/f/616881/c/33998/s/4a5cede3/sc/28/a2.htm"><img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/241225340334/u/49/f/616881/c/33998/s/4a5cede3/sc/28/a2.img" border="0"/></a><img width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/241225340334/u/49/f/616881/c/33998/s/4a5cede3/sc/28/a2t.img" border="0"/><img width='1' height='1' src='http://tipb.com.feedsportal.com/c/33998/f/616881/s/4a5cede3/sc/28/mf.gif' border='0'/><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TheIphoneBlog/~4/8VXOC9FIHlk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

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Steve Jobs biopic opens today in four theaters in New Yor...

Today, 01:03 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News


If you live in New York City or Los Angeles, you can actually go to a theater today to see the long-awaited, and much discussed, biopic of Apple's late co-founder Steve Jobs. However, the studio behind the movie, Universal Pictures, has decided to debut the film in just four theaters this weekend, before in opens in far more cineplexes nationwide on October 23.

According to Deadline:

Though a studio offering, the title has some kinship with its more traditional specialty counterparts with a limited release positioned to capitalize on festival buzz."

The film was directed by Danny Boyle and stars Michael Fassbender as Jobs. Even though he looks nothing like Apple's co-founder, Fassbender's performance as Jobs is already generating a lot of praise from critics, with many seeing him getting an Oscar nomination. The movie also stars Seth Rogen as Apple's other co-founder Steve Wozniak, along with Kate Winslet as Joanna Hoffman and Jeff Daniels as John Sculley.

Steve Jobs was written by Aaron Sorkin, and he based his script in part on the biography of Apple's co-founder by Walter Isaacson. Sorkin wrote the script in three acts, centering on a product launch. The first takes place in 1984, with the launch of the first Macintosh. The second occurs in 1988, when Jobs launched his ill-fated NeXT computer. The final act jumps ahead to 1998 when Jobs, now back at Apple, reveals the first iMac.

Each act was filmed with different methods, according to Doyle:

"We used 16mm film for the first act because it felt like the early days and [Steve Jobs] felt like the pirate and rebel breaking down the edifice of IBM. [Then we used] 35mm for the second act, which has a subterranean river of intention running through it… and then we moved to [digital] in the third part."

Source: Deadline





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How to create folders and add apps to your iPhone 6s and...

28 Sep 2015

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News


Keep your Home screen clutter-free by creating folders.

Your iPhone and iPad Home screens can hold dozens and dozens of apps, but thanks to folders, that number leaps up to thousands. If your Home screen is getting a bit messy, consider folders to help you collect and organize apps of a similar type, color, style, or whatever specifics you dictate.

How create folders on your iPhone or iPad
  1. Go to your Home screen.
  2. Touch and hold on the app you want to create a folder for until all apps begin to jiggle and you enter Edit mode. (If you have an iPhone 6s and press too hard, you'll trigger 3D Touch; tap and hold lightly to enter Edit mode.)
  3. While continuing to hold your finger down on the app, drag it on top of another app you want in the same folder.
  4. If you don't like the automatic name iOS creates for your folder, tap the name field and change it to anything you like, then tap Done.

  5. Tap outside the folder area to return to the Home screen.
  6. Drag any additional apps that you want in the folder onto the folder.
  7. Click the Home button to exit Edit mode and complete the new folder.
How to add apps to folders on iPhone or iPad
  1. Go to your Home screen.
  2. Touch and hold on the app you want to add to your folder until all apps begin to jiggle and you enter Edit mode.
  3. While continuing to hold your finger down on the app, drag it to the folder.
  4. Release your finger to drop it into the folder.

  5. Drag any additional apps that you want onto that folder.
  6. Click the Home button to exit Edit mode.
How to remove a folder from your iPhone or iPad
  1. Go to your Home screen and tap the folder in question.
  2. Touch and hold on an app in the folder to enter Edit mode.
  3. Drag all apps out of the folder, at which point it will disappear.

Questions? Comments?

Let us know below!

Rene Ritchie contributed to an earlier version of this article.





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Here's where you can pre-order the iPhone 6s and 6s P...

Today, 07:03 AM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
<div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"><p>Ahead of their launch in India on October 16, the <a href="http://www.imore.com...hone-6s">iPhone6s</a> and <a href="http://www.imore.com/./iphone-6s-plus">6s Plus</a> are up for pre-order. A slew of online retailers, including Amazon, Snapdeal, Flipkart, Infibeam, and Paytm, are now accepting pre-orders for the phones, along with Vodafone. Here's how much the new iPhones cost in India: <!--break--></p> <h3>iPhone 6s:</h3> <ul><li>16GB - ₹62,000 ($940)</li> <li>64GB - ₹72,000 ($1,093)</li> <li>128GB - ₹82,000 ($1,244)</li> </ul><h3>iPhone 6s Plus</h3> <ul><li>16GB - ₹72,000 ($1,093)</li> <li>64GB - ₹82,000 ($1,244)</li> <li>128GB - ₹92,000 ($1,396)</li> </ul><p>Most stores are offering launch-day delivery for customers pre-ordering the handsets. Vodafone is offering 4,000 minutes, 3GB of 3G data and 1,500 text messages a month for 6 months to all customers purchasing a Vodafone Red plan along with the new handsets.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.in/b/ref=br_imp?_encoding=UTF8&amp;node=7200733031&amp;pf_rd_m=A1VBAL9TL5WCBF&amp;pf_rd_s=desktop-hero-kindle-A&amp;pf_rd_r=1R30K7NWMJ8X26FW9MJS&amp;pf_rd_t=36701&amp;pf_rd_p=718184207&amp;pf_rd_i=desktop" title="" class="cta shop">Pre-order iPhone 6s, 6s Plus at Amazon</a></p> <p><a href="http://fkrt.it/S5gHhuuuuN" title="" class="cta shop">Pre-order iPhone 6s, 6s Plus at Flipkart</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.snapdeal.com/offers/iphone-6s" title="" class="cta shop">Pre-order iPhone 6s, 6s Plus at Snapdeal</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.infibeam.com/iphone-6s" title="" class="cta shop">Pre-order iPhone 6s, 6s Plus at Infibeam</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.vodafone.in/discover/mobile-internet/iphone-6s" title="" class="cta shop">Pre-order iPhone 6s, 6s Plus at Vodafone</a></p> <p>How many of you are looking to pre-order the iPhone 6s or the 6s Plus?</p> <ul class="cta large"><li><a href="http://www.imore.com/iphone-6s-review">iPhone 6s review</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.imore.com/iphone-6s-plus-review">iPhone 6s Plus review</a></li> </ul></div></div></div><br clear='all'/><br/><br/><a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/241225644114/u/49/f/616881/c/33998/s/4a885df6/sc/28/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/241225644114/u/49/f/616881/c/33998/s/4a885df6/sc/28/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"/></a><br/><br/><a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/241225644114/u/49/f/616881/c/33998/s/4a885df6/sc/28/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/241225644114/u/49/f/616881/c/33998/s/4a885df6/sc/28/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"/></a><br/><br/><a href="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/241225644114/u/49/f/616881/c/33998/s/4a885df6/sc/28/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://rc.feedsportal.com/r/241225644114/u/49/f/616881/c/33998/s/4a885df6/sc/28/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"/></a><br/><br/><a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/241225644114/u/49/f/616881/c/33998/s/4a885df6/sc/28/a2.htm"><img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/241225644114/u/49/f/616881/c/33998/s/4a885df6/sc/28/a2.img" border="0"/></a><img width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/241225644114/u/49/f/616881/c/33998/s/4a885df6/sc/28/a2t.img" border="0"/><img width='1' height='1' src='http://tipb.com.feedsportal.com/c/33998/f/616881/s/4a885df6/sc/28/mf.gif' border='0'/><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TheIphoneBlog/~4/Q-o3Z7-ic9M" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

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App Store bug fixed, apps returning to purchase history

Yesterday, 01:49 AM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News


If you were missing apps in your purchase history, good news—they're coming back!

A couple of weeks ago Mac App Store apps disappeared from the purchase history tab, making re-downloads impossible. It was a bug, Apple fixed it, and purchase histories were restored. Now a similar bug has been fixed on the iOS App Store, and purchase histories there are also being restored.

Just like with the Mac App Store, iPhone and iPad owners began noticing apps and games were missing from their purchase history earlier this week. Since the App Store is often a black box, lots of speculation followed. Fortunately, the simple answer in this case was the correct one.

Not all apps are back yet, but should be as the fix rolls out.

Note: Developers can still remove apps permanently if they choose to, for example if web services shut down or the code no longer works with modern devices. In those cases, when the apps wouldn't work anymore anyway, there's nothing to be done, even by Apple. It's the developer's call.

Otherwise, if you noticed you couldn't re-download some old apps and games, hang tight. They're on their way back!





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  177 Views · 19 Replies ( Last reply by Johnsonen )


App Store removes VPN-based ad blockers over privacy conc...

Today, 02:12 AM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News


VPN profile apps don't just block ads, they deeply inspect all your traffic, even private and secure traffic.

While Apple has provided a mechanism to create safe, private content blocking extensions for Safari on iPhone and iPad, in the last few days apps have taken it a step further, installing root certificates in order to block ads inside apps as well.

The problem with these blocker apps is that they work by installing VPN profiles, which means they intermediate secure connections and "see" all your private internet traffic. They are, essentially, a voluntary person-in-the-middle attack. For that reason, Apple is removing them from the App Store. Here's the statement Apple provided me:

"Apple is deeply committed to protecting customer privacy and security," an Apple spokesperson told iMore. "We've removed a few apps from the App Store that install root certificates which enable the monitoring of customer network data that can in turn be used to compromise SSL/TLS security solutions. We are working closely with these developers to quickly get their apps back on the App Store, while ensuring customer privacy and security is not at risk."

I was surprised the VPN profile-based ad blocking apps were approved to begin with. Marketing a VPN is one thing. It's crystal clear what it is what's happening when you use it. Marketing an in-app ad blocker that happens to work through a VPN isn't so clear. People may really want the former and not understand the consequences of the latter.

In other words, deep packet inspection of everything done on the internet by the ad-blocking app, even secure financial transactions and communications, on their servers and any servers involved in their chain, and in a way that's not easily toggled on or off.

Again, Apple is still allowing VPN apps on the store. iOS 9 introduced new network extensions for both personal and corporate VPNs. They're just not allowing ad-blockers based on VPN profiles.

There will no doubt be complaints from people who think they want these apps and these types of services, and from developers who make the apps. But the potential risk of abuse is simply too high.

Some will also question Apple's choice in allowing content-blockers for Safari but not for apps. The difference is that the WebKit/Safari team spent time creating a private, secure way to block content in Safari that doesn't allow the blocker to do any tracking of its own. They're precompiled and at no point to they get to see what you're doing or where you're doing it.

While Apple has done things like ban the use of cross-app tracking through mechanisms like UDID, there's not yet a similarly private, secure way to block content in apps.

Unless and until that changes, allowing these VPN profile-based content blockers in the App Store goes against Apple's privacy and security policies, which the company has made a major, top-down, front-facing feature of the platform.





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Our latest #SwitchToiPhone winner is...

Yesterday, 02:14 AM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News


Apple has not only released the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus but also released an all-new Move to iOS app that makes switching to iPhone simpler and easier than ever. That means, if you're still on Android but looking for a way out, there's never been a better time to #SwitchToiPhone. We wanted to help, so we gave everyone a shot at winning a $600 Apple gift certificate!

We asked you to send a tweet with the hashtag #SwitchToiPhone, letting us know why you wanted to be chosen as the winner of a $600 U.S. Apple Store gift certificate. There were a ton of responses! It's time now to see who the lucky winner is!

@iMore I want to #SwitchToiPhone because the 3d touch is a truly new form of interaction for smartphones that adds productivity and depth.

— Justin Shultz (@Justin_Shultz) September 24, 2015

Congratulations Justin! You're the winner! I'll be in touch soon to get your prize sent out. Thanks for entering everyone, and be on the lookout for the next great giveaway her on iMore!





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SIM-free iPhone 6s, 6s Plus now available at Apple Online...

Today, 03:43 AM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

For those looking to buy the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus unlocked, Apple has started selling SIM-free variants of both handsets. The unlocked version of the iPhone 6s has the model number A1633, while the 6s Plus is A1634.

From Apple:

The SIM-free iPhone comes without a wireless contract commitment or carrier financing. It doesn't come with a nano-SIM card for iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, or iPhone 5s. And because it's unlocked, it isn't tied to one carrier, so you can get a nano-SIM from any supported carrier worldwide, such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, or Sprint in the United States.

You can also use the device on a wide variety of international carriers.

The caveat here is that going SIM-free entails full upfront payment for the phone, with no carrier incentives available. Here's how much you'll be shelling out for the new iPhones:

iPhone 6s:
  • 16GB - $649
  • 64GB - $749
  • 128GB - $849
iPhone 6s Plus:
  • 16GB - $749
  • 64GB - $849
  • 128GB - $949

Buy SIM-free iPhone 6s at Apple

Buy SIM-free iPhone 6s Plus at Apple

iPhone 6s buyers guide





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The Home app is the program Apple should have shipped wit...

Today, 12:00 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News


If you're using HomeKit-enabled devices, the Home app is the best way to manage them.

I've been testing HomeKit accessories since the first wave premiered earlier this year, and I've used a variety of apps to set them up and control them. Most manufacturers have released device-specific apps, but if you have a few different HomeKit items and need a central hub, there's no better app out there right now than Home.

Wait, what's HomeKit and why do I need a third-party app?

HomeKit, Apple's Siri-integrated answer to home automation, has been available for manufacturers to hook into since 2014. For a device to be HomeKit-compatible, it has to be approved by Apple's MFi program, which means special certification and confirmation that the devices are using secure pathways to safely pass your information from home automation items to iCloud.

Your iCloud account is how you register HomeKit items to your home: When you create a database for your house, it's linked to your account; you can give other iCloud users guest access, but your account (and your account alone) is in charge of the house.

Within this database, you can add HomeKit accessories from any manufacturer, and set up those accessories in specific rooms, zones (groupings of rooms), or scenes (groupings of accessories that might be time- or situation-based). There's one catch: You can't do any of this without a third-party app.

Yes, despite this very iOS-centric registration scheme, your iPhone or iPad has no official HomeKit app where you can view and control accessories: Instead, it punts you to apps from various third-party HomeKit manufacturers. And given that most home automation manufacturers are largely hardware-focused, that means—yes—cruddy software.

Philips' Hue app only lets you set up Hue accessories, but has no way to assign your lights to rooms or zones, and their only actionable scenes are geofence-triggered. Lutron's Caseta Wireless app won't launch half of the time if it can't connect to the online Caseta system (the custom home automation service Lutron used prior to HomeKit).

Elgato's Eve app is better than most in that it shows all your HomeKit accessories and lets you add rooms, zones, and scenes, but scrolling feels sluggish and the app is prone to random quits.

So what to do if you have multiple HomeKit services and want an app to quickly view and use them all?

The Home app to the rescue

Home is Mattias Hochgatterer's $15 all-purpose HomeKit control application, and it is worth every penny and then some. This app is the program Apple should have shipped with iOS 9: Though rough around a few edges, it cleanly and clearly helps you see all your HomeKit items at a glance, add new items, assign them to rooms and zones, and configure scenes and triggers. About the only thing I don't like about Home is its name—it's almost impossible to recommend to people without having the full App Store URL on hand.

The initial sell, for me, was easy room and zone organization. As I mention above, Elgato's Eve app can do this for any and all of your accessories, but it's a little clunky at present and crashes more than I'd like. With the Home app, you can jump from your overview to Rooms and Zones with just a tap of a tab. From there, you can add and edit rooms and zones themselves, add or remove accessories, and control all your items.


Scenes and Triggers were what really sold me on the app, however: With these, you can set either Siri command-triggered, time-triggered, or action-triggered scenes. These can involve any HomeKit-connected accessory, and you can set them to any state you wish.

For fun, when first testing scenes, I created a scene called "Emergency alert". This includes all my Hue lights—three in the office, three in the living room—as well as my living room Lutron lights. When I say that phrase to Siri, the Lutron lights switch off, and all our other lights immediately turn blood red. (Who needs Halloween decorations when your lights can do the work for you?) I also created a "Simulation complete" scene that resets all my lights to white—mostly because it feels oh-so-very Star Trek.

Triggers is also new with iOS 9: It lets you do "if-this-then-that"-style scenes that activate automatically upon a certain event.

At their most basic, you can trigger accessories to turn on or off at certain times of day—add a time trigger to "turn on the lights in the living room at 5PM", for example.


But triggers can be infinitely more complex. If you have motion or door sensors, you can add a trigger to turn accessories on or off at door open or when the motion sensor is activated; when you're leaving or arriving at a certain place; and you can change the color of your lights as the temperature rises or drops. It's a lot of fun, and if you enjoy IFTTT-style actions, you'll love messing around with Triggers.

The triggers interface is perhaps the least polished of the app (it's also the most recently added feature): You can stumble your way through setting up triggers pretty easily, but the actual documentation on doing so is a little obtuse, and it's not super-clear at first how to save a characteristic. (To do so, after selecting "Characteristic," you select the accessory in question and change something about it, but then you have to press Done in the upper left corner—there's no Save button.) It's much less straightforward than the other sections of the app, to my disappointment. I also wouldn't mind a way to switch from Celsius to Fahrenheit in viewing temperatures.

That said, the developer appears to be pretty active at fixing and tweaking the app, and I'm hopeful to see a slightly more polished version of Triggers in the next update.

Siri integration

When paired with a HomeKit home, Siri can recognize a variety of commands:

  • Accessory names: "Turn off the Hue office lightstrip."
  • Room and Zones: "Turn off the lights in the office" or "Turn off the lights upstairs"
  • Scenes: "Emergency alert!" or "Set the 'emergency alert' scene"
  • Individual accessory tweaking: "Set the lights to 50 percent" or "Set the office lights to green" or "Set the temperature to 67"

You can rename accessories, rooms, zones, and scenes from the Home app; they'll take a few moments to propgate before reaching iCloud and your Siri connection. Unfortunately, Siri's still a bit twitchy when it comes to scene names: I can say "Simulation complete" with no problem, but she won't activate other scenes ("Enter the nexus!" being one) no matter what I try. It's odd, and I'm chalking it up to early HomeKit bugs and bedevilry.

Bottom line

If you have HomeKit accessories with a terrible companion app or multiple HomeKit manufacturers in your home, you need the Home app. Flat out, it's the best way to coordinate and organize your iOS home automation needs, and I hope Apple takes note, too.

In my opinion, there are few reasons not to have an optionally-viewable Home app in iOS (the same way you have an optionally-viewable iCloud Drive app) for those with HomeKit accessories installed. It would save every manufacturer the work of having to incorporate rooms and zones information into their app, and provide users with easy controls for their accessories in one place.

But until Apple gets its act together in this arena, there's the Home app to pick up the slack. And it's doing so with aplomb.





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