If you’re an Apple fan, today is better than Christmas Eve. Tomorrow Santa Cook and the Cupertino elves will trundle out their newest toys for us to “Oohh” and “Aahh” over. Countless rumours are coursing through the Internet with “news: and “leaks” about the presents under the Apple tree and here at SoyaCincau.com we’ve done our best to separate the possible from the ridiculous. Join us and read on as we pick up a crate, shake it about and try to guess what delights are inside.
The most anticipated announcement tomorrow is that of the new iPhone 6 that’s expected to be introduced in two sizes, 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches. While the iPhone 5 got a bit taller than its predecessors, the width of iPhones has remained constant ever since the first model was introduced in 2007.
By increasing the screen size of the iPhone 6 Apple will be doing more than just making it easier to read text and view images on the latest generation of its flagship product. Larger screens also give developers more space for controls and visual features and we hope this will catalyse a new wave of innovation across the App Store.
The bigger iPhones are also expected to be equipped with larger batteries and the 4.7 inch iPhone 6 will likely have one that’s 1,810 mAh, around 16% larger than the battery in the iPhone 5S. The 5.5 inch iPhone 6 may come with a 2,915 mAh battery.
But at 5.5 inch, the iPhone 6 will be Apple’s largest iPhone ever and by going large, will Apple compromise its trademark ease of use over screen real estate? If a 5.5-inch iPhone is indeed true, it will be interesting to see how Apple designers strike a balance between the two.
U Mobile today announced that it will invest a total of RM1.5 billion to expand its network with an additional 2,000 new 3G and 4G LTE sites. The operator aims to complete its network expansion by the end of 2015 and will involve 1,000 3G and 1,000 4G LTE sites as part of its commitment to deliver what it says is the best mobile user experience to its customers. The rollout is planned to cover Wilayah Persekutuan, Selangor, Seremban, Port Dickson, Nilai, Ipoh, Lumut, Penang, Johor Bahru, Muar, Kluang, Segamat and Batu Pahat.
Alongside the Ascend Mate 7, Huawei also announced the Ascend G7, a mid-range smartphone with high-end aspirations. In almost every aspect of the G7, Huawei tries to strike a balance between cost and premium specifications but in doing so is the device too much of a compromise?
While the frame of the device is made out of metal, it is bereft of the design nuances that makes metal feel premium. the screen, while rather large, only pushes 720p (albeit IPS) instead of 1080p like its closest competitors and honestly, we’d rather Huawei forgo the metal frame for a cheaper material that feels better in the hand, plastic can feel premium too and is probably considerably cheaper to manufacturer. The processor is a rather standard quad-core Snapdragon 410 clocked at 1.2GHz (it is a 64-bit processor if that means anything to you), there’s 2GB of RAM, 16GB of on board storage and a microSD card slot supporting cards up to 32GB. On the upside, you get cat4 LTE (150Mbps downloads) and there’s Android 4.4 KitKat.
As you can see, the spec sheet is nothing to shout home about but Huawei tries to make up for it in other respects. The camera on the G7 for example is the same as the Ascend Mate 7. This means you get a 13MP Sony BSI sensor with an f/2.0 wide angle lens at the back and a 5MP sensor at the front. Also, the battery is relatively large at 3,000mAh but that’s pretty much it.
Huawei says that it is coming to Malaysia but at €299 or about RM1,230, can the G7 entice you? We’d look elsewhere before making a decision. More details on the Ascend G7 here.
Large-format smartphones are a big thing both literally and figuratively. It seem customers can’t get enough of them and smartphone manufacturers are quick to capitalise on this demand. The Ascend Mate 7 from Huawei is the latest entrant into this lucrative market and it looks like this network equipment manufacturer from China has big aspirations in the mobile device universe. Dare we say it, with the Ascend Mate 7, Huawei may even have its sights set on taking the fight for large-format phone dominance to Samsung.
The Ascend Mate 7 features a 6-inch display and in the universe of large smartphones, that’s a pretty big display but thanks to the slim bezel (just 2.9mm), the device has the same footprint as the Galaxy Note 4, which has a smaller 5.7-inch screen.And despite being made mostly out of metal, the Ascend Mate 7 is only 9 grams heavier than the Note 4. That’s an amazing feat, considering.
The display is a 1080p IPS-NEO unit that Huawei says produces darker blacks and features a wider viewing angle over traditional IPS displays. Under the hood, the Ascend Mate 7 packs an Octa-Core HiSilicon Kirin 925 chipset (Quad-core Cortex-A15 @ 1.8 GHz + Quad-Core Cortex-A7 @ 1.3 GHz) with a either 2GB or 3GB of RAM depending on your choice of the 16 or 32GB storage variants. At the back, there’s a 13MP camera sourced from Sony complete with BSI and F2.0 28mm-equivalent lens while at the front, you get a 5MP shooter. There’s also dual-SIM slots (one nano SIM and one micro SIM) and a micro SD card that takes cards up to 128GB, if you’re wondering, both of the Ascend Mate 7’s SIM card slots support cat6 LTE 300Mbps networks. To keep things running, there’s a 4,100mAh battery which is over 800mAh bigger than what’s available in the Note 4. Huawei says the massive 4,100mAh battery will keep the Ascend Mate 7 running for up to two days.
Smart Watches and wearable devices have made significant presence at IFA 2014. Over at Sony, they had launched their 3rd generation SmartWatch that’s powered with Android Wear while their new SmartBand Talk offers more functionality with a power efficient E-ink display and the ability to handle voice calls.
During our workshop session with the product guys from Sony, they have shared their core pillars behind its wearables. Lifelog is their core component as it tracks your life moments and stores them in a single hub. Next is the ability to have flexible style. Having a smart watch doesn’t mean you would need restrict its appearance for functionality. Therefore they are interchangeable with variety of straps and accessories to suit your mood and activities. It is worth pointing out that they have done away with any prominent Sony branding on their watch faces, which is apparently a big change with their standard branding approach. The Sony brand is visible discreetly on the strap buckle and underneath the watch/band itself.
Sony had produced yet another budget Android smartphone under the Xperia Series. Succeeding the Xperia E1, is the Xperia E3. Coming in single and dual-sim models, in 4 colors, namely black, white, bronze and pastel yellow this Autumn 2014.
The Xperia E3 packs a 4.5-inch IPS display , with a resolution of 854×480 pixels. It will also be shipped with Android 4.4 KitKat. It will have a 5-megapixel rear camera, VGA front facing shooter, and packed with Sony’s suite of photo and video software, including HDR, superior auto, and Timeshift Burst.
Maxis has launched MaxisONE Business, a one stop mobile communications plan for businesses that is available in two new packages: vanilla MaxisOne Business with 2GB high speed Internet quota for RM148 per month, and MaxisOne Business Extras with 4GB high speed Internet quota for RM188 per month.
Both plans offer unlimited voice calls and SMS to all networks including all fixed lines, and after the user exceeds their high speed LTE and/or 3G quota they will continue to receive unlimited Internet access throttled to 64kbps at no additional charge. Additional high speed quota can be purchased at RM10 for 200MB, RM20 for 500MB and RM30 for 1GB. For companies with smaller mobile appetitive, the MaxisOne Plan Lite of RM78 per month is being offered as well, with 1GB of data and unlimited voice calls and SMS that’s applicable only within Maxis/Hotlink network.
MaxisONE Business also comes with Business Grade Services that are a 24/7 dedicated customer service hotline; Telecom Expense Manager that gives administrators the tools to analyse bill and usage trends among all company lines with deeper insights into the usage of top spenders, and complete overview into Account Contract Information; and Mobile Device Management that gives users secure access to company data on their mobile devices.
Just a friendly reminder that Apple’s upcoming special event is happening tonight at 1AM (10th September 2014) Malaysian time where we are expected to see the new iPhone 6 and its first iWatch wearable device. To catch it live, Apple is opening a live stream over here which is accessible on Safari Browser on Macs, iOS mobile devices and Apple TV.
Don’t know what to expect? Read on to find out what we know so far.
Do follow us on Twitter at @soya_cincau for updates as well.