iPhone6s – One Step Ahead

After my old post (iPhone6s – ‘Dreams & Facts’ – 3 months ahead) where I was trying to predict which would be the new features of this year iPhone release, I think is time to talk about some of the changes and ‘surprises’ that we got.

One of the good changes was the change of aluminum alloy used in the housing, moving from previous 6000 series to stronger 7000 series. This was a very smart movement from Apple, because after introducing it on their Apple Watches, and with a year of experience manufacturing it, the iPhone user got a stronger housing which dissipates any trace of last year ‘Bendgate’ (which I personally think from my own experience was vastly exaggerated); and not only that, harder against tiny scratches.

This will be very interesting for all those users who like to enjoy the feeling of the raw metal in their hands without any case in between; but also who don’t want to care if they leave their expensive devices on any surface. Anyhow, due the inconvenient protrude camera, I’ll continue using a case, to have a fully flat back side.

A part of slighly heavier feeling (few grams due newer 3D Touch screen and Taptip Engine added), and few tens of millimeters increase in size, the users will not see any difference between the iPhone6 and newer iPhone6s housing.

For the most curious of the inners parts, we can see here a full exploid view of iPhone6s Plus:

iPhone_6s_Plus_Exploid_View

On top of that, Apple also renewed their SoC with a newer A9, faster and even more powerful that last year 64-bit A8.

It is never mentioned, but Apple also increased the inner RAM embedded inside the SoC up to 2GB (LPDDR4 type), something that most users were long time waiting for.

This upgrade finally aligns the whole mobile devices product line since last year first iPad Air 2 with 2GB:

  • iPhone6s / 6sPlus (2015): 2GB RAM
  • iPad mini 4 (2015): 2GB RAM
  • iPad Air 2 (2014): 2GB RAM
  • iPad Pro 1 (2015): 4GB RAM

The drawback of this change is that Apple made a turning point; and as they normally optimize the iOS and apps for current devices specs, all old models before 2014 could become obsolete (‘slow and sluggish as a brick’) in only one year cycle (next iOS10). Of course, only Apple has the last word about it; but the reality is that today the iOS9.0.2 becomes slower in (not so old) iPhone6/6Plus devices as many users are reporting.

And again, this is not all, it looks like we will have another ‘gate’ this year, and it will be the “ChipGate“:

iPhone6_A9_chips_Samsung_TSMC

I may understand that for a company as Apple, who sells tens of millions of new iPhone’s every year, to get the right supply chain alliances must be quite difficult; so this year Apple splitted the production of the newer A9 between TSMC and Samsung. This should not be an issue if they would use the same lithographic processes, but that was not the case (TSMC 16nm FinFET Plus, Samsung 14nm LPP (low-power plus) 2nd gen FinFET); which is one of the reasons of difference in silicon size of the above picture.

So, today we may find 4 types of “non-declared/selectable” iPhones on the shops:

  • N66mAP: iPhone 6s Plus with A9 chip manufactured by TSMC.
  • N66AP: iPhone 6s Plus with A9 chip manufactured by Samsung.
  • N71mAP: iPhone 6s with A9 chip manufactured by TSMC.
  • N71AP: iPhone 6s with A9 chip manufactured by Samsung.

Of course, the user cannot choose, neither select them, and after some intensive tests made, looks like the TSMC variant can provide around 25% more battery lifetime compared with Samsung variant; and even lower internal temperature rise.

After the whole debate created, Apple had to officially acknowledged it; but they argued that those huge differences are only in extreme test cases, not typical daily user cases:

“Our testing and customer data show the actual battery life of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, even taking into account variable component differences, vary within just 2-3% of each other.”

I am not fully agree with that as Different lithographic process are directed related to power consumption.

Today the iPhone6s/6sPlus is a extremely powerful machine (even already compared with Macbook Air’s performance), and Apple also promotes it as a portable video editing computer (to make and edit even 4K videos); then, I don’t find fair that for a so expensive product (up to $1000 for the full highest iPhone6sPlus 128GB model) some buyers will have to “play to lotto” to see if they get a Samsung or TSMC A9 inside.

Besides of that, I would share with your a couple of cool X-Ray pictures of the two models 😉 , there you’ll see below the battery big ‘block’ the new Taptic engines introduced this year; which reduced battery size with respect last year; but not battery expected lifetime due other systems improvements.

This is the iPhone 6s:

iPhone6s_xRay

And the iPhone 6s Plus:

iPhone6sPlus_xRay

As final though, regarding the iPhone 6s ChipGate of 2015, I only hope that Apple rectifies and for next year iPhone 7 (2016), they use a single SoC foundry or exactly the same lithographic process for all products made with coming A10 (and some sources already pointed to TSMC as main and only A10 source due their capability to offer a better power consumption and yield lithographic process).

HOW TO define your own iOS custom ringtone

Nowadays most people mostly uses the default ringtones coming in the iOS, being most of them pretty good. But for all those who would like to have a more customized ringtone, and don’t want to pay twice in iTunes for the song and the ringtone, it is possible to make your own in few and easy steps.

You only need to follow these steps in your iTunes program (PC or Mac version):

1) Open your iTunes (PC/Mac) and choose the song from which you would like to make your own ringtone. As it must be 30 seconds maximum length; we will have to crop it, so listening several times to choose the section of it which you like more.

2) Now, right-click on the song, select ‘Get Info’, and then select the ‘Options’ tab. There, you will see Start and Stop timing settings, and it is there where you will select/define the begin and end time position (in seconds) for your custom ringtone. Once selected, click ‘OK’ to close the window.

iOS_ringtone_1

3) Next step will be to create an AAC version of the song, which is pretty easy as you only need to right-click on it and select ‘Create AAC Version’. Then, you will have two songs with the same name, but one of only 30 seconds length; which I recommend you to change its name as I did in this example to don’t confuse it with the full length song:

iOS_ringtone_2

And before continuing, you can de-selecting the ‘Start’ and ‘Stop’ settings in the original song to listen it fully next time.

By the way, if you get an error due your song still has DRM protection on it (as it was purchased before 2009 in old iTunes), you can follow this Apple tutorial to get the free-DRM version.

4) To be able to use it as ringtone, we need to find the file and rename it. On Mac you can select ‘Show in Finder’, and in PC you can right-click on the song and click on ‘Show in Windows Explorer’:

iOS_ringtone_3

Then, with a simply right-click on the file, and selecting ‘rename’, you can change its file extension from .m4a to .m4r.

iOS_ringtone_4

5) And as final step, you do a double left-click on the ringtone file, and your custom ringtone (with .m4r extension) will be automatically added to your iTunes Tones library:

iOS_ringtone_5

Then, it is ready to be added to your iPhone/iPad next time that you synchronize them. Pretty easy! 😉

HOW TO easily recalibrate your iPhone6 HOME button

Even a Second generation of Home/Touch ID button has been introduced since iPhone5s, some users still have sometimes little issues with it, arguing wrong or bad behavior and usually forcing them go to nearest Apple Store to get some quick Genius technical support.

TouchID

It is true that with its launch release 1st gen at 2014, there were some initial complaints from first users, but since the last two years, Apple has improved significantly the HW and SW fingerprint recognition of it.

As you can see, although quite small (taking into account compressed technology on it), it’s not a simple push button, but a quite complex electromechanical embedded component composed by a 500ppi resolution capacitive sensor, which can scan sub-epidermal skin layers and offers 360° readability:

iPhone6_TouchID

Actually, it’s not always necessary go to an Apple Store or send it to Apple Repair Service, as you can first try the following re-calibration procedure.

The process is quite straightforward:

  1. Launch one of the native iOS8 apps from your iPhone6; let’s use newest Health app.
  2. Keep the app open, then push the Power button until the shutdown slider appears.
  3. Once there, and keeping always pressed the Power button, push and keep pushing the Home button until the iPhone screens turns off.
  4. Now, only wait until the device reboots and try yourself again if the behavior of the Home button improved.

If it didn’t improve as you expected, maybe the issue is slightly worse; you can also try to carefully clean the Metal ring border of the Home button just in case some dust accumulated on it could be blocking the pushing mechanism.

Then, if none of these tips worked, you could need to bring it to an Apple Official Repair Service; remember to check first if it’s still inside official warranty period; also something easily to check in the Apple Warranty Status official web.