Horween Leather for Your Brand New iPhone 7 / 7 Plus

If you haven't already gotten the e-mail or checked it out, Nomad (one of my favorite anything Apple accessories purveyor) just announced an update to their Horween Leather Case. Now available for pre-order and shipping on October 31, it's by far one of the most beautiful and handcrafted cases I've been privy to own, and to tell you the truth, I'm probably on the train for this one too! =) Get yours for $39.95 for the iPhone 7 or $44.95 for the iPhone 7 Plus.

sidenote: one differentiator I can see consumers having is that the new Apple iPhone 7 Leather Case showcases "machined aluminum buttons that match the finish of your iPhone case." If you want to pay for it, Apple's variation on the leather case will cost you exactly $5 more than Nomad's offerings but it's not Horween, it's "European" but I say, to each his own.

Horween Leather offers an unparalleled blend of quality, consistency, responsiveness, and innovation. Through the years, we have cultivated our experience to offer dynamic lines of leathers. Our products include traditional, old world tannages and techniques, carefully updated with modern applications. Today, our leathers are still made by hand, the same way as generations ago.

 
Beautiful! 

Beautiful! 

 

Apple iPhone 7 Benchmarks vs Android

This iPhone 7 Single Core Geekbench testings shows an amazing lead compared to rest. Even dating back to the previous model at one year old, the Apple's Single Core optimization beats the rest. But when it comes to Multi-Core, Samsung does indeed come very close.

Device                    Single Core           Multi-Core
iPhone 7 / 7 Plus         3285 / 3211           5285 / 5191
iPhone SE                    2409                 4051
iPhone 6s / 6s Plus       2375 / 2400           3991 / 4027
Samsung Galaxy S7            1806                 5228
Samsung Galaxy Note 7        1786                 5213
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge       1744                 5203
Huawei P9                    1729                 4735
OnePlus 3                    1698                 4015
LG G5                        1658                 3745
iPhone 6 / 6 Plus            1463 / 1471        2457 / 2470

One VERY interesting feat is the fact that today's iPhone 7 / 7 Plus beats out the MacBook Pro 15" (Late 2011) and even the Mac Pro (Late 2013) in single core benchmarks. Intel better be watching. As The Verge clearly put it,

Now, before you accuse me of being high on my own metaphorical supply, I’m not saying that Intel will be crippled or surpassed anytime soon. But I am arguing that the chip giant is under a substantial threat, the likes of which it hasn’t faced for a long time, maybe ever. A quick look at the Geekbench scores attained by the iPhone 7 quantifies a staggering achievement: the single-core performance of Apple’s latest generation of smartphone processors has basically caught up with Intel’s laptops CPUs. The A10 chip inside the iPhone 7 comfortably outpaces its predecessors and Android rivals, and even outdoes a wide catalog of relatively recent Mac computers (including the not-so-recent Mac Pro). The iPhone’s notoriously hard to benchmark against anything else and this is just one metric, but it’s illustrative of Apple’s accelerating momentum and mobile focus.Now, before you accuse me of being high on my own metaphorical supply, I’m not saying that Intel will be crippled or surpassed anytime soon. But I am arguing that the chip giant is under a substantial threat, the likes of which it hasn’t faced for a long time, maybe ever. A quick look at the Geekbench scores attained by the iPhone 7 quantifies a staggering achievement: the single-core performance of Apple’s latest generation of smartphone processors has basically caught up with Intel’s laptops CPUs. The A10 chip inside the iPhone 7 comfortably outpaces its predecessors and Android rivals, and even outdoes a wide catalog of relatively recent Mac computers (including the not-so-recent Mac Pro). The iPhone’s notoriously hard to benchmark against anything else and this is just one metric, but it’s illustrative of Apple’s accelerating momentum and mobile focus.

This is one POWERFUL A10 Fusion chip and Apple I'm sure is proud. Congrats on the optimizations!

Bottom Line: It's Still Slower

For example, XDA shows that the Note 7 launches Chrome in 0.493 seconds versus the HTC 10’s nippy 0.298 seconds. I’ve sat here and dutifully done that test myself a dozen times, throwing in the OnePlus 3 as well. How noticeable is the difference? It isn’t. On some occasions I see the Note 7 launching faster, anyway. Same goes for the Google Play Store, Gmail, Hangouts, and every other shared app that I have across my Android devices. Everything launches and operates at roughly equivalent speed across the HTC 10, Note 7, and OnePlus 3.

I don't know why The Verge really cares that their initial praise piece is getting hit on that much since, it [Samsung Note 7] is slower. Any could argue, don't pay attention to the benchmarks and you'll be fine, but I bet if it had been faster, they would have been singing a different tune.

Does Your iPhone 6/6 Plus Exhibit 'Touch Disease'

Turns out, Jessa’s not alone. Lots of repair pros are experiencing the same influx of faulty iPhones—most with flickering gray bars and all with glitchy touch functionality. Rami Odeh, a repair tech from New Orleans, sees up to 100 iPhone 6 and 6 Pluses a month that don’t respond well to touch. About half of the repairs sent to Michael Huie—the specialist behind Microsoldering.com—show symptoms of the same problem.

Of course, there’s no way to tell exactly how many phones are afflicted with what we’re calling Touch Disease, but every repair tech we spoke to told us that the problem is incredibly common.

“This issue is widespread enough that I feel like almost every iPhone 6/6+ has a touch of it (no pun intended) and are like ticking bombs just waiting to act up,” says Jason Villmer, owner of STS Telecom—a board repair shop in Missouri. He sees phones like this several times a week.

It's just a matter of time, that Apple will address it as a full recall. This news comes just in time as my wife's iPhone 6 Plus is nearing the end of her Apple Care. Time to bring it in.

Android’s Full-Disk Encryption Has Holes

Beniamini's research highlights several other previously overlooked disk-encryption weaknesses in Qualcomm-based Android devices. Since the key resides in software, it likely can be extracted using other vulnerabilities that have yet to be made public. Beyond hacks, Beniamini said the design makes it possible for phone manufacturers to assist law enforcement agencies in unlocking an encrypted device. Since the key is available to TrustZone, the hardware makers can simply create and sign a TrustZone image that extracts what are known as the keymaster keys. Those keys can then be flashed to the target device. (Beniamini's post originally speculated QualComm also had the ability to create and sign such an image, but the Qualcomm spokeswoman disputed this claim and said only manufacturers have this capability.)

"That's significantly different than how iOS works," Dan Guido, an expert in mobile device encryption and the founder and CEO of security consultancy Trail of Bits, told Ars. "What it means is that now you trust a second party, you trust somebody who built the software that holds the key. Maybe people didn't realize that before, that it's not just Google that can mess around with the software on your phone, but it's also [Google partners], and it's in a very significant way."

So, essentially if you are wondering why some users have turned to Apple as of recently, it's because of the broken promises that Google once offered and has failed on thus far. Of course, if you have nothing to hide anyways, use Android or Apple doesn't matter, but don't go saying that you use Android and stay away from Apple because it's more secure. 

Anandtech Reviews Apple's iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus

The iPhone 6s in a lot of ways seems like it’s simple enough to review, but it turns out if you dig deep the changes have been significant. Over the course of a review, we’ve found major changes in the SoC, storage solution, camera, touch screen, fingerprint scanner, voice recognition software, cellular architecture, and WiFi chipset.

It's a doozy. Wonderfully technical and the most thorough that I've read. I love how both Joshua Ho and Randy Smith comb over the details on everything that Apple's latest "s" model has to offer. Even if you're not an Apple fan, the extent of technology, craftsmanship and design that Josh and Randy go over proves to be an exemplary read. Don't take my word for it.

The one disappointment here is that the iPhone 6s doesn’t have OIS, which increasingly feels like a pretty significant differentiator.

I completely agree and that's why I went with the iPhone 6s Plus. Check out the Optical Image Stabilization in the video below.

Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program Is Perfect

PSA from AppleInsider

If you're a U.S. customer, you plan on upgrading your iPhone in less than two years, and you aren't interested in T-Mobile, Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program is your best bet, hands down. Carrier installment plans are too restrictive and confusing, while Apple's offering is simple, streamlined, and will let you get a new iPhone every year at no extra cost to you, outside of the ongoing monthly payment plan.

If you upgrade every year, this is an interest free loan with Apple Care+. Just do it and make sure to order this Saturday for a delivery by the 25th of this month! Also, iOS 9 is out on the 16th. 

"Everything Has Changed"

Apple really pulled out all the stops with this update. For one, the megapixel and processor boost then the 3D touch. Count me in. If you don't believe me, take a look at the photos from the iPhone 6s! Also, yes, if you want Optical Stabilzation, you'll have to opt in for the 6s Plus. Now if I could decide which case to get.

note: I'm still using an iPhone 5 at the moment so an upgrade was due a year ago

Exposing Holes and Shortcuts in Android

First this (via Reuters):

The change came after security researcher Joshua Drake unveiled what he called Stagefright, hacking software that allows attackers to send a special multimedia message to an Android phone and access sensitive content even if the message is unopened.

then this:

Samsung Vice President Rick Segal acknowledged that his company could not force the telecommunications carriers that buy its devices in bulk to install the fixes and that some might do so only for higher-end users.

Samsung and telecoms taking care of only the top...maybe. And if you use the HTC One Max X and utilize the fingerprint reader (via The Guardian):

Researchers from FireEye have found that data that could be used to clone a user’s fingerprint was stored as an unencrypted “world readable” image file on HTC smartphones.

Four security researchers discovered that the image file, which is clear replica of a user’s fingerprint, could be stolen by rogue apps or hackers.

“While some vendors claimed that they store user’s fingerprints encrypted in a system partition, they put users’ fingerprints in plaintext and in a world readable place by mistake,” the authors wrote. “On the HTC One Max X the fingerprint is saved as /data/dbgraw.bmp with a 0666 permission setting (world readable). Any unprivileged processes or apps can steal user’s fingerprints by reading this file.”

This is why Apple does what it does. I can't say never, but so far, they really are winning when it comes to security and protecting its users.

Verizon Adds Over 800k 4G Smartphone Users

Customer defections, also known as churn in the telecommunications industry, for Verizon's wireless postpaid business dipped to 0.90 percent versus the 0.99 percent estimated by FactSet.

Verizon said it added 842,000 4G smartphones to its postpaid customer base in the quarter.

Does this number include those that were already non smartphone subscribers? Just wait until Apple releases the iPhone 6S / Plus S next quarter. I'm betting that all those iPhone 5 & iPhone 5S users will upgrade. 

My Choice For Portable Battery Chargers

When you find yourself in and out of subway stations and out and about in the city of New York, I bet that your smart phone quickly runs out of battery. Mine sure does and for that, I highly recommend carrying a lipstick size battery pack. The exact one is from Anker called the Astro Mini 3200mAh. It packs a powerful punch and is almost unnoticeable in your jacket pocket. It's also the #1 rater on Amazon for Camera Flash Battery Packs.

Pair that with a NomadKey Lightning to USB and you have yourself a perfect little pocket charging device. Take my word, you'll thank me later. For the Android or Windows Mobile folds, there's also a USB Mini variant of the NomadKey. I have both! =)

Losing Bookmark Icons and Getting Them Back on iOS

For those using iOS devices and find that their icons / bookmarks disappear or end up looking like targets on your home screen, the solution below works.

A more simple method is to swich to bold text and then back to normal text in - general - accessibility section of settings. Your phone will do a partial restart but only takes a few seconds. This causes the system to do a screen refresh similar to the language change method but a lot quicker.

by ctethompson via Apple Discussions

Another technique is to change out your language setting. I went from English to English (UK) and I got them back! Some other have used Japanese or Deutsch but getting back to English (US) could be difficult if you don't remember where the setting was or read that language. Good luck and happy swiping.

Apples A8X Revealed

Since publishing our initial iPad Air 2 review last week, a few new pieces of information have come in that have changed our perspective on Apple’s latest SoC. As it turns out I was wrong. Powered by what we’re going to call the GXA6850, the A8X’s GPU is even better than I thought.

To get right down to business then, the die shot confirms what we had begun suspecting: that A8X has an 8 cluster Series6XT configuration. All 8 GPU clusters are clearly visible, and perhaps unsurprisingly it looks a lot like the GPU layout of the GX6450. To put it in words, imagine A8’s GX6450 with another GX6450 placed right above it, and that would be the A8X’s 8 cluster GPU.

Wow! This is the tablet to beat and Apple, by designing their own SoCs, is far ahead in this race. In other words, there's nothing in the competition's timelime that will out gun or out maneuver the A8X.

via Anandtech

A8X iPad Air 2