Apple: iPhone 6S battery life won't suffer due to different A9 chips

Apple: iPhone 6S battery life won't suffer due to different A9 chips
iPhone 6SWhile the new iPhones carry new A9 processors, there's been increasing concern over the last few days regarding the phones' battery performance due to the chip being sourced from two different companies, TSMC and Samsung.
Users have been comparing the chip made by TSMC to the one made by Samsung. These silicon sleuths say phones with the TSMC processor has a longer battery life.
In response Apple has released a statement (via Ars Technica), saying that the battery life performance between the two chip types in "real-world usage" varies little.
"Our testing and customer data show the actual battery life of the iPhone 6Sand iPhone 6S Plus, even taking into account variable component differences, vary within just 2% to 3% of each other."
"Certain manufactured lab tests which run the processors with a continuous heavy workload until the battery depletes are not representative of real-world usage, since they spend an unrealistic amount of time at the highest CPU performance state," Apple explained.
"It's a misleading way to measure real-world battery life."
Apple also said the A9 chip (which it designed) meets the company's "highest standards for providing incredible performance and deliver great battery life," regardless of the iPhone model.
We've gotten in touch with Apple to ask for further details on the matter, but it should also be noted that many of the components found within the two iPhones are sourced from different companies, not just the processor.

Microsoft Band 2 vs Microsoft Band: what's changed?

Microsoft Band 2 vs Microsoft Band: what's changed?
New Microsoft BandThe Microsoft Band 2 looks better then ever on paper but how does it compare to the first-gen Microsoft Band?
There were a lot of griping about the older wearable so it should be interesting to see if Microsoft listened to the complaints and made improvements.
While our review of the new Band is still in the works, we decided to compare the two sensor packed fitness trackers to see what's different and better.

Microsoft Band 2 vs Microsoft Band: Design

Microsoft Band 2
The first Microsoft Band isn't exactly a looker. The all black look the company went for was likely to make it sleek and discrete but it mostly made it boring and forgettable for most.
The new Band has a silver metallic finish on the edges instead of the plastic on the previous wearable. The clasp is also a silver finish this time around instead of a black metal finish.
Microsoft Band 2
The power and action buttons are in the same place and match the silver edges of the new Band. These are slight changes but they do make it look more premium than the all black model.
The new Microsoft Band is made of thermal plastic elastomer silicone vulcanate where the older one is made of thermal plastic elastomer material. The original Band's material is already comfy enough and good for workouts so the new Band shouldn't feel or function too differently.

Microsoft Band 2 vs Microsoft Band: Display

One of the biggest issues with the older Microsoft Band is its stiff and uncomfortable design, which is mostly the fault of its rigid, flat display.
The new Microsoft Band may have alleviated this by integrating a curved screen. Not only does it promise to fit better on the wrist, it should make notifications easier to navigate.
The Corning Gorilla Glass 3 AMOLED screen is larger at 32mm x 12.8mm (320 x 128 pixels) while the older Microsoft Band measures in at 33mm x 11mm TFT (320 x 106 pixels).
The second-gen Band has a full color display and touchscreen like the previous one.

Microsoft Band 2 vs Microsoft Band: Features

Microsoft Band 2
The new Band generally has the same features as the older version thanks to Microsoft's consistent software updates.
There is however, the addition of a barometer sensor meaning you'll have an elevation tracker added to the 11 other sensors.
All the fitness heavy apps will be back along with more features for golfers. The heart rate monitor remains on the back of the wearable, along with GPS functionality.
The new Band (like the old Band) will be cross compatible on Android and iOS phones - just without the addition of Cortana. It looks like the AI is only available on Windows 8.1 and higher phones, and Windows 10 devices, though Microsoft has not elaborated further on what those devices are.
Sadly, the new Microsoft Band isn't waterproof and only slightly water resistant. The official IP rating is still unknown but like the previous device, only light rain and splashes of water can hit the wearable. No dunking it in pools or wearing it in the shower.

Microsoft Band 2 vs Microsoft Band: Battery life

Microsoft Band 2
Most trackers with screens don't have a very long battery life and the first Microsoft Band was no exception. With a two day span, it averages out with what most smartwatches are capable of.
The Microsoft Band 2 only lasts about two days, or 48 hours specifically with normal usage, according to Microsoft.
The magnetic USB charger appears to be back and slightly remodeled likely to fit the new Band's shape.

Microsoft Band 2 vs Microsoft Band: Pricing

Microsoft Band 2
The older Microsoft Band was released at $199 (£170, about AU$230), and was considered surprisingly affordable for a fitness tracker that promised to do so much.
The new one costs a bit more at $249 (£199, about AU$347). It's not too much of a price difference but we're hoping that the extra $50 will be worth it.

Microsoft Band 2 vs Microsoft Band: Early verdict

The second Band's barometer and curved screen are a nice touches that the first-gen Band sorely lacked. Still, the Band 2 isn't waterproof and it doesn't look like Cortana is available on very many devices.
I was pretty pleased with the original Microsoft Band despite its shortcomings and it seems like the team did make some improvements to the wearable. But without properly testing the new Microsoft Band, it's hard to tell if you should pick it up just yet.

The 4K-ready Roku 4 is real, and it's coming out this month

The 4K-ready Roku 4 is real, and it's coming out this month
Update: So we might've let the cat out of the bag a little early on this one, but Roku and HBO have announced today that they plan on bringing the contract-free streaming service, HBO Now, to all Roku U.S. devices - including the Roku 4 - when it launches later this month.
HBO will offer a 30-day free trial for new users then charge $15 per month for the service.
Original story below...
Pro tip: If you have a streaming device to release this fall, now would be a good time to throw your hat in the ring. It's starting to get a little crowded.
Roku announced today that yes, the flatter, 4K, 60 frames per second Roku 4 is real, and it will launch by the end of October in the US. The system will cost $129 (roughly £85, AU$180.)
Major hardware updates to the system include an optical audio out port, an 802.11ac WiFi antenna and a beefier quad-core processor, all of which will be housed in a flat, elongated puck.
Roku 4
So what will set the Roku 4 apart from the competition? Like its predecessors it will come with a remote - a missing component of the brand-new Chromecast 2- and though we weren't told it explicitly, will most likely come with a built-in microphone for voice search. It supports 4K, unlike the new Apple TV, and isn't tethered to one ecosystem like the revamped Amazon Fire TV.
Roku also baked in a new feature for habitual remote displacers: a button on the back of the box called "Find Me" that causes the remote to play a tone from wherever it is in the room. A PR representative from Roku says the tone will change based on which theme is currently running on your Roku (and yes, there will be a Star Trek theme with the door-opening sound effect in case you were wondering).
On the software side of things, the system will run on an updated version of Roku OS. The latest version will raise up the UI to 1080p and introduce TV shows, directors and actors into the My Feed content-tracking feature that was introduced in the last big update.
Roku 4 My Feed
Roku's new 4K over-the-top streaming box won't leave you high and dry when it comes to content, either. As soon as the software rolls out to the new device, Roku says that you can expect to find a 4K UHD section of the channel store, as well as a tab on the homepage dedicated to Ultra HD movies.
The new Roku 4 will face some steep competition from Apple, Google and Amazon this fall, but the tenets that made the Roku 3 one of our favorite streaming systems remain alive and well in its fourth iteration. It looks just as fast if not faster than the competition, offers a wider app selection (Roku OS currently has over 3,000 "channels" of content) and remains one of the few ecosystem-free streaming options that offers Netflix, Amazon, HBO Now andSling TV full stop.
Roku 4
The Roku 4 is available starting today for pre-order on Roku's website and most US retailers, and is expected by to hit stores and mailboxes by the end of the month.
In the UK though there has been no announcement as to when we might expect the new 4K Roku 4 to land there.

Samsung really plans on launching an 18-inch tablet

Samsung really plans on launching an 18-inch tablet
Samsung Galaxy ViewIt looks like Samsung really is looking to launch an 18-inch tablet, with the large slate having just gone through the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this week.
While an 18-inch slate hasn't quite officially been announced by Samsung, we assume it'll be the new Galaxy View, which the company teased during IFA last month.
At the time, Samsung introduced the Galaxy View, shown in the image above, with a video that said, "What does it take to stay ahead? Start with the limits. Now push them. Think big. Then, think bigger."
But while the company described the Galaxy View as a "whole new mobile viewing experience for a new generation," it didn't reveal much else.
Spotted by Phones Arena, the FCC documents, which identifies the tablet by the model name SM-T677A, does reveal a couple of more nuggets of information, including that it sports stereo speakers and will be heading to AT&T with LTE support.
According to these documents, the slate measures at 17.5 inches by 10.7 inches, with the screen measuring in at 18.6 inches.
Luckily, we won't actually have to wait too long for more information, as Samsung announced during IFA that it will be revealing more details about the Galaxy View in October.

Apple joins Hogwarts as enhanced Harry Potter ebooks land on the iBookstore

Apple joins Hogwarts as enhanced Harry Potter ebooks land on the iBookstore
Harry Potter iBooksUp until now, the magic in the Harry Potter books has always been purely literary. Through the power of JK Rowling's imagination, regular muggles can believe – if only for a moment – that magic really exists.
But thanks to a partnership between Rowling's Pottermore and Apple, the magic has now transferred to the page. All seven Harry Potter novels have just been released as exclusive enhanced editions on the iBookstore.
These enhanced versions of some of the most loved books of all time feature animated illustrations from Pottermore artists within their digital pages, alongside special annotations from JK Rowling herself.
Marked by a small quill, users will be able to access illustrations and notes about the wizarding world of Harry Potter like they've never been able to before.
The enhanced versions of the Harry Potter books will set you back US$10 / £6.99 / AU$11.99 each, and are available now from the iBookstore.

Bose tries to touch Sonos with new SoundTouch speakers

Bose tries to touch Sonos with new SoundTouch speakers
Bose unveils next generation of SoundTouch
In an effort to take the fight to current multi-room audio champ Sonos, Bosehas announced a new range of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled SoundTouch speakers, soundbars and home theatre systems, so you can get your groove on in every room of your house.
Proving that big things do come in small packages, Bose revealed a new product dubbed the Little SoundTouch 10 Speaker, which boasts a big sound for something that measures just 21.2cm x 14.1cm x 8.5cm.
Users can use the Little SoundTouch 10 Speaker entirely on its own, but can also add more speakers over time or add the speaker to any existing SoundTouch system.

LittleBigSpeaker

The speaker combines Bose's digital signal processing with the new Unidome transducer, and is said to provide a cleaner, deeper and louder sound than any standalone speaker of its size.
Need an even bigger sound? Well, this little guy's big brothers are also coming to the party – Bose has announced new and updated versions of its SoundTouch 20 and 30 Series III speakers.
Bose SoundTouch 20 Series III
Bose has also unveiled refreshed versions of its well-regarded SoundTouch 120 and 130 Soundbars, and a new 5.1 home theatre system in the SoundTouch 520.
You can also expect better connectivity with each of the speakers as they now feature 802.11n dual-band Wi-Fi for a stronger signal to cut down on interference and dropouts.

Spotify and Bose are bros

Starting early next year, Bose will be implementing Spotify integration across all its products with the addition of Spotify Connect to its SoundTouch app.
Users will be able to switch seamlessly between their SoundTouch and Spotify apps, and both apps will be able to control SoundTouch devices directly.
Bose also announced a new ReadySet with Spotify feature, which enables customers who purchase a new SoundTouch device to pre-load their ready-made Spotify playlists so that the speaker arrives "customised, programmed, and ready-to-go".

Very nice, how much?

The SoundTouch 10 speaker is priced at AUD$299 (US$199.95/£169.99), while the bigger SoundTouch 20 Series III SoundTouch 30 Series III systems will set you back AUD$499.00 (US$349.95/£349.99) and AUD$799 (US$499.95/£499.95).
The SoundTouch soundbars and home theatre systems start at AUD$1599 (US$1,099.95/£1,000).

Is politics being privatised by tech giants like Uber?

Is politics being privatised by tech giants like Uber?
Sharing economyBeing 'digitally disruptive' has become a buzzword in recent years. Radical new business models from the likes of Uber and Airbnb have shaken-up entire businesses on a global scale. This is the 'sharing economy', the 'gig economy' or the 'Uber economy', and its membership is growing.
The big players, at least by status, are Uber, Airbnb and Etsy, but others include JustPark, Bla Bla Car, Handy, Taskrabbit and Neighborrow. What these services all have in common is that they enable peer-to-peer sharing of goods and services.
That all sounds great in principle, but employees of traditionally-run industries are fighting back against these new upstart arbiters of their terms and conditions, and regulators and politicians are joining in too. Uber executives are on trial in France on the charge that UberPop is an illegal taxi service, while the app's insistence that its drivers remain freelancers is being successfullyfought across the globe, with several strikes and decisive court rulings against Uber.
Meanwhile, Airbnb-advertised pop-up hotels in disused office blocks in Tokyo have been closed down by authorities concerned about safety, while other towns are banning short-term home-sharing altogether.
The term 'digitally disruptive' has become an overused cliché spat out by the PR machines to market almost every new app going, but does it now mean something negative? To digitally disrupt increasingly means a startup that has contempt for local laws and public policy. Is that good or bad? Are tech companies attempting a coup on policymaking? Or is the sharing economy DOA?
The sharing economy is powered by smartphone apps
The sharing economy is powered by smartphone apps

What is the sharing economy?

"It's a new economy where workers are freelancing their services to start-ups or small businesses," says Rebecca Bridges, Employment & Immigration Solicitor at law firm Taylor Rose. "Freelancers are effectively sharing their human or physical assets, whether that is a taxi, accommodation or postal service, through marketplace-style businesses to promote their services."
Trouble is, the sharing economy is operating outside of traditional workplace constraints. "It's redefining traditional work and economic structures," says Bridges.
Proponents of this 'new world order' are largely those who run it – tech companies and the venture capitalists who back them – but the convenience of these apps has made them widely popular in some urban areas. "The Uber economy has enabled tech- and app-based companies to become labour brokers between consumers and the services they require," says Bridges, who thinks the phenomena is most prevalent in San Francisco, New York and London.
The sharing economy is also about a new perspective. "A new generation of consumers, thanks to a history of social sharing, is quite comfortable to benefit from staying in another person's home, for example, and sees what traditionally people would view as an invasion of privacy as an advantage," says Mike Laming, Lead Technologist at digital innovation company Adaptive Labs. "They are also trusting enough to ride-share with Uber rather than being sceptical and cautious – it's as much about mind-set as the technology that is enabling the physical organisation."
The sharing economy gets much publicity but it s tiny
The sharing economy gets much publicity, but it's tiny

How is it supposed to work?

"The 'Uber economy', the 'gig economy' and the 'sharing economy' are all really talking about the same thing – the co-ordination of underutilised resources across a geographic area through technology," says Laming.
People can share their services and freelance for whoever they want. Oh, the freedom, the flexibility! The extra income! And it works perfectly! Err, hang on…
"To a large extent it doesn't work," says Laming. "Aside from a handful of high-cost, high-value services, like Airbnb, Uber or Handy, it's dead in the water." The reason for this, of course, is that these companies are under intense regulatory pressure. "It threatens to compromise their business models, making them potentially unviable in the long term," adds Laming, who also doubts that the sharing economy will spread.
He further observes: "If the cost of sharing is significantly lower than the purchasing option – either with time or money – then it's likely to work, but most items aren't like this … either it costs too much to rent, or it takes too much time to coordinate."
Although such apps are often fought against by those in traditional industries, they can be complementary, and merely extend choice. Airbnb says that 76% of its properties are outside the main hotel districts, while Boston Universitycalculated that for every 10% increase in the size of the Airbnb market, revenues for hotels dropped by 0.37%.

On October 12, you can grab a OnePlus 2 without an invite – if you're quick

On October 12, you can grab a OnePlus 2 without an invite – if you're quick
OnePlus open saleIf you're looking to pick up a OnePlus 2 right now you'll need an invite that gives you the chance to buy one. However, the company is opening up sales to everyone next week – but only for an hour-long window.
On Monday October 12 the phone will be available invite-free for an hour. OnePlus put the news up on its forums, with a message stating that the phone will be on sale from noon in the HKT, CEST and PDT timezones.
There's no specific word on the UK yet – we've reached out to OnePlus for an update – but it seems we may have to try at 11am UK time, along with the rest of Europe.
You'll be able to order two phones per transaction, and you can order as many times as you want. However, be warned: the system has crashed pretty quickly when OnePlus has attempted these flash sales in the past.

All are welcome

OnePlus has also announced a media event for October 12 in India. The invites come with a quote from CEO Pete Lau that says the announcement will "reiterate the relevance of the Indian market in the OnePlus growth story and announce The Next Big Step".
That next big step is unclear right now, but rumours suggest it may be theOnePlus X – that's the miniature handset we're expecting from the company before the end of the year.
Launching a cheaper device in a location which already has a good market share is a smart idea for OnePlus, and the company seems to be taking the opportunity to scoop up even more money in the emerging market.
This news does suggest, though, that the OnePlus X won't be coming to western markets – all will be revealed on Monday.

Facebook Messenger comes to the wrist with Apple Watch

Facebook Messenger comes to the wrist with Apple Watch
Apple Watch MessengerFacebook's dedicated Messenger app, announced at the keynote in September, has now come to the Apple Watch. However, it doesn't work exactly as it does on the phone.
The screen on the Apple Watch isn't particularly large so you can't type out full messages – instead the app comes with the ability to send voice clips, Likes, emojis, stickers, and dictate messages.
All those Power Rangers and Pusheen stickers are set to become even more useful when using your Apple Watch. However, you can't start a new conversation from the Watch, which is a bit of a shame.
To get the update you'll need to be running the watchOS 2 software, so make sure you've updated the Watch software before the app itself.