Monthly Archives: December 2015

How Many Of These iOS 9.2 Problems Have You Faced?

Although its adoption rates slowed down in the last couple of weeks of November, iOS 9 is still the most successful iteration of Apple’s mobile platform. Within 60 days of its release, 7 out of every 10 compatible iDevices have been upgraded to iOS 9 (considerably helped by the flashy, emoji-based iOS 9.1 update). It has been three weeks since the stable release of the iOS 9.2 ‘bug-fix’ update – and although it has been mostly well-received by general users and software/mobile app developers – some issues still linger. We will here take a look at some of these commonly reported iOS 9.2 problems:

 

  • Unreliable wifi connectivity – While the problem is not as serious as it was on the iOS 8/8.1 updates – wifi connectivity problems have stayed on the iOS 9 platform. There have been scattered reports of extremely slow network speeds, along with frequent connection failures. The problem is particularly common on older devices (e.g., iPhone 4S). Doing a factory reset generally fixes the issue. You can also try turning off wifi on your iPhone and enabling it again.
  • Incomplete installation – In an indirect way, it is the super-impressive adoption rate of iOS 9 that has led to this problem. As soon as iOS 9.2 was released, users from all over the world rushed to download it. Experts from the field iPhone app development have also been enthusiastic about the new update. This, in turn, has put additional pressure on the servers – leading to the download process becoming painfully slow, and even incomplete in such cases. It is expected that this problem will ease off over the next couple of weeks or so, as the frequency of downloads becomes lower.
  • Lags while setting reminders – Not a huge problem, but the ‘reminder bug’ is definitely a glitch in the iOS 9.2 update. When you try to set a reminder on your upgraded/new iPhone – there is every chance of a 8-10 second lag, before the relevant screen (where you can put the reminder time and date) shows up. The lag is minor, and should get fixed in the upcoming updates.
  • Problems with the Touch ID – According to reports from online software and mobile development forums, this bug has affected iPhone 5S users the most. After upgrading to the latest version of the iOS platform, several users have reported that the Touch ID on their devices have become noticeably less responsive. What’s more, some reports have been filtering in about 3D Touch not working as smoothly as it should. 3D Touch has only been introduced by Apple on iPhone 6S/6S Plus, and understandably, some rough edges still remain.
  • No downgrading option – Although this is not a iOS 9.2 problem per se, but users would have definitely liked to have the option to downgrade to iOS 9.1 – if they were not satisfied with the new update. However, the Cupertino company has closed this loop, and as a result, those who have upgraded to iOS 9.2 are stuck with it. This, along with the fact that no proper iOS 9.2 jailbreak solution has yet been released, has made several users shy away from upgrading their handsets.
  • Overheating and battery drain – Charging is quick on iOS 9.2 powered phone – and in general, the battery performance is more than acceptable (battery life of a smartphone is never its USP, in any case!). However, power users (mobile gamers, heavy app users) have complained about devices getting overheated within less than an hour of continuous use. Analysts from iOS app development companies have confirmed this as well. The overheating is accompanied with an alarming rate of battery drain. Enabling ‘Low Power Mode’ on iOS 9 devices is a good way of steering clear of such problems. Users should also turn off GPS location services whenever unnecessary. Regularly checking whether any rogue app is causing battery drainage (Settings → General → Battery Usage Settings → Privacy → Diagnostics & Usage) is also advisable. You should also disable push notifications from apps that you do not need at any time.
  • The alarm bug has returned – Alarm problems had been present in iOS 7, iOS 8 – and slightly surprisingly, this ‘alarm bug’ has persisted on iOS 9.2 as well. iPhone app developer communities have shown that, after upgrading, pre-set alarms get disabled on their own – and they have to set the alarm all over again. While less common, instances of alarms going off at ‘incorrect’ times have been reported as well.
  • Accessing large email attachments – While setting up POP email accounts on iPhones after upgrading to iOS 9.2 is a breeze – adding/accessing attachments is, unfortunately, a different story. A large number of users as well as app testers have found that large attachments tend to hang when they are being downloaded. In certain cases, the attachments remain entirely inaccessible to users. The new update has fixed the issues with Podcasts and Safari, but problems related to mail attachments have not been sorted out. Yet.
  • Bad news for music lovers – Early problems with Apple Music have been addressed by iOS 9.2 – but the new platform has brought forth a whole new, and more problematic, bug. There have been many complaints from users who have lost their entire collection of downloaded (offline) music from their devices, after doing the upgrade. Instances of app crashes have also remained fairly common. This is, arguably, the most irritating problem of iOS 9.2 – and if left unsolved, it can seriously dent the adoption rate of the new mobile platform.
  • Photos not getting saved – A small section of the early adopters of iOS 9.2 have experienced this problem. While it might be a device-specific issue, the very fact that it has cropped up AFTER upgrading makes it worth a mention in this list. Affected users have found that the pictures they click with their iPhone/iPad are not getting saved in the Camera Roll automatically. Neither can the photos received from others be auto-saved. Manual saving is, of course, an option – but that has not always worked either.
  • Screen freezes – Another common problem that shrouds nearly all new iOS updates. iPhone app developers who have tested the platform have reported that screen freezes are fairly common – something that has been corroborated by the reports from general iDevice owners. Going for the ‘Reset All Settings’ option fixes the problem, but it wipes off all custom user-settings as well. We’ll have to wait and watch whether the next iOS 9 update manages to satisfactorily resolve this issue.
  • Personal hotspot related bugs – Enabling the wifi personal hotspot on an upgraded iOS device is matter of seconds. However, you might face certain problems after that. Close ‘Settings’, and then use another device to locate the hotspot that you have just activated. Don’t be too surprised if you can’t find it – for mobile app development experts have identified this as another of the commonly reported iOS 9.2 problems. Mobile testers have, however, shown that adding a standby time to the personal hotspot can do away with this problem.
  • Presence of a ‘ghost app’ – Many owners of iPhone 6S/6S Plus have been befuddled on seeing an app with no title/icon on the home screens (some users have also found 2-3 of these ‘ghost applications’). Once again, iOS developers have confirmed that this is not a glitch of the iOS platform – and these ‘no-title app icons’ are displayed as a result of interrupted/incomplete app downloads. A full ‘hard reset’ (after taking a backup of phone data) removes these strange app icons.
  • Problems with the calendar icon and clipboard – The calendar icon bug has mostly affected users of the new iPad Pro. People have reported that the calendar icon is either blank, or is displayed as a ‘developer icon’ (since it is a native app, deleting it and restarting the device is of no use). Also, users of iPhone 6S have experienced erratic clipboard behaviour after moving to the iOS 9.2 platform.

 

Certain iCloud-related problems and a weird keyboard bug have also been reported by users as well as those who make iPhone apps. The point to note here is, none of the above problems is a major one – and they have not affected everyone who have upgraded to iOS 9.2. Apple has already released the first public/developer beta of iOS 9.2.1 – and it would, hopefully, solve most of the above glitches.

 

Which of these problems have you faced after upgrading your device?

Swift Goes Open Source:All That App Developers Need To Know

It has taken some time to happen – but Apple finally made its Swift programming language open-source earlier this month. With this, Swift has joined the likes of Go (Google), Rust (Mozilla) and .NET (Microsoft) open source languages. The announcement had been made at this year’s WWDC in June, and since then, the iOS app development community had been abuzz with anticipation with when (and even whether!) Apple would fulfill its promise, and what the implications of an open source version of Swift would be for app makers. Over here, we take up that topic and examine it in detail:

 

  1. Scope to improve the language – For all the hype and curiosity around it, Chris Lattner’s Swift project is still new – and there is a lot of room for refining the language. The Cupertino tech giant very well understands that professional third-party mobile app developers can contribute towards this – and build the ‘small incremental improvements’ that the company is looking for. An open-source Swift paves the way for the betterment of the language, thanks to the efforts of developers.
  2. No longer an iOS-only language – The new version of Swift allows developers to work with Swift even outside the Apple ecosystem. It has been officially announced that Swift will be available for coding on the Linux platform. Windows and Android app developers would get it as well. With more than 78% developers actively using it, Swift has fast emerged as the most popular programming language. Apple is pushing it out to more and more developers – even the ones who are not into making apps for iOS/watchOS.
  3. Access to the source codes – One of the biggest advantages of the open-source Swift is that, developers can now access and modify (as required) the source codes of the language. For those involved in cross-platform app development, this is a great opportunity to customize their codes – without having to bother about other languages (a prior knowledge of Obj-C and Java is, of course, an advantage). Depending on the environment a software developer is working in, (s)he will be able to tweak the available tools, resources and source codes.
  4. Where has Apple stored the open-source version of Swift? – A new web portal – Swift.org – has been launched by Apple, for storing and running the ‘new’ Swift project. The popular Github repository has been selected for code-sharing purposes among developers worldwide. An array of additional tools have also been added to the language – to make the entire process of transforming raw Swift codes into full-blown, workable mobile applications.
  5. Open-source Swift apps in the App Store – Well, that is not going to happen. The open-source version of Swift is different from its official counterpart – and applications built with the former won’t find a place in the Apple App Store (at least, not yet). The new version is focused on widening the user-base of Swift and boosting its online support community. For all its open-source announcements, iOS developers will still have to use the official version of Swift (and cough up the developer fee) for making Apple apps.
  6. The controls remain with Apple – A follow-up of the earlier point. Swift has been made open-source, but has NOT BEEN PORTED to Android or Linux or any other platform. The UIKit and the AppKit tools can still be used only for Mac OS X and iOS app development (the open-source Swift does have ‘core libraries’…more on that later). For its own ecosystem, Apple is still going to lead the way, and it is not likely to relinquish that position any time soon. The ‘new’ Swift is much like an invitation for people making apps for other platforms – but it does not give up full control to them.
  7. Not an unexpected move – For those following news related to Apple Inc closely for the last few quarters, the move towards making Swift open-source has hardly been a surprise. WebKit, the built-in search engine for the Safari browser had been opened up for software developers quite some time back. Earlier in 2015, ResearchKit (iOS) was also made open-source. What’s more, Apple has been venturing into new things – from HomeKit and Apple Watch, to HealthKit and even the Swift language (which debuted only 18 months back; version 2.1.1 was launched on the 8th of this month). Releasing an open-source version of Swift is in keeping with Apple’s recent trend of activities and product/software launches. Well, the Apple Watch did not exist before Spring 2015!
  8. Core Libraries for the open-source language – The ‘new’ version of Swift comes with ‘core libraries’ that are: a) native to the language, and b) an improvement over the previously existing standard libraries. Some key features of both AppKit and UIKit have been included in these ‘core libraries’, and fresh codes for the Foundation, XCTest and libdispatch frameworks have also been published. What’s more – a ‘Packet Manager’ project has also been provided to mobile app development experts, for code-building and sharing purposes. Swift was already a fast language, and Apple is attempting to make it ‘swift-er’.
  9. A buffer in case Apple ditches the language – Oh well, that is not likely to happen anytime in the foreseeable future. But even in theory, if Apple ever decides to move away from the Swift language – the presence of an open-source version ensures that developers would still be able to use the open-source version to build apps and games and other software. All the codebases, resources, and of course the online support community will remain – providing programmers an added assurance.
  10. Getting started with the open-source Swift – Apple has made it as simple as possible for third-party mobile app companies to get their feet wet with the ‘new’ version of Swift. There is an in-built alternate toolchain in the new Xcode IDE. Command line tools as well as binaries have all the required downloads present on the Swift.org website. There are also detailed instructions and guidelines available – both on the site and on other app development forums. For even newbies, setting up the environment for Swift programming should be a matter of minutes.
  11. Better security features – Apple is making a conscious effort to get into more and more aspects of everyday life (from m-payments via Apple Pay, to smart home systems and automation (CarPlay should arrive in 2019)). For making apps for all of these platforms, a language with complete security assurance is required – and Apple intends to make Swift exactly that ‘core programming language’. Since developers from all over will be able to pool their knowledge and expertise for improving Swift codes, it is only natural to expect that due attention will be paid to the security and stability aspects. Any possible existing glitches will be ironed out over time.
  12. Extensive documentation and bug reporting – Those who have started to make apps with the open-source edition of Swift can find all the support they need – right on the Swift.org portal. There is a dedicated blog on Swift engineering, along with detailed documentation, a mailing list, and even pointers on API designs. A real-time system of bug monitoring and reporting makes coding for apps faster and easier too. There is now a single language to worry about, error handling is smarter and speedy, and the learning curve for cross-platform developers is a lot less steep.
  13. A chance for Windows to become competitive again – For any platform – desktop or mobile – the presence of an well-stacked app store is an absolute must. In this regard, the Windows App Store lags well behind its Mac counterpart. With the fairly well-received Windows 10, Microsoft is endeavouring to get into Internet of Things (IoT) in a big way – and the arrival of an open-source version of Swift would enable developers to create more, and better, apps for the Windows platform. If Windows indeed picks up, the annual sales of Mac systems might witness a dip – but Apple is prepared to take the risk, in its bid to lure more developers into the world of Swift.
  14. The license issue – As most mobile app and game developers had predicted, the open-source Swift has been released under an Apache 2.0 license. The license covers all the package managers, compilers, software (core) libraries and tutorials. The new Swift Package Manager is, understandably, rather thin at the moment – but with the contribution from developers working on multiple platforms, it is expected to become more resourceful and intuitive within a relatively short time-frame.

 

With the new open-source Swift, developers can make apps for (apart from OS X and iOS) the tvOS, the watchOS 2 and the Linux platforms. ‘Swift is growing faster than anything else we track’, opines the RedMonk analysts – a statement that is backed up by the results thrown up from a recent Stack Overflow survey (over 26000 developers from nearly 160 different countries code with Swift). Apple has made the language open-source in a bid to expand the user-base of the language further. The stable Swift 2.2 version will be launched in early-2016, with the release of the full Swift 3.0 update being expected later in the year. The stage is all set for the worldwide Swift developers community to grow at an exponential rate.

Making An Android App: A Step-By-Step Guideline

While the iOS platform promises greater revenue-earning potential for app developers, Google’s Android has the overwhelmingly dominant position in terms of market share. A recent report from App Annie shows that the percentage of Android app downloads touched 90% in the third quarter of 2015. This spurt has been primarily due to the increasing availability of ‘budget Android phones’ – ensuring that practically everybody can own a handset and use applications on it. The growth of the smartphone market has pushed matters on too (for instance, the Chinese market has helped iOS in a big way as well). Many mobile app companies train their developers to start working on the Android platform first – before trying their hand at making iOS apps. We have here outlined the main steps involved in Android app development:

 

  1. Manage system requirements – For working with the Android Studio IDE on a Mac system, you need to be on the 10.8.5 Mavericks OS or higher. Make sure that there is at least 1GB of storage space available for installing the Android SDK. You will also need Java Runtime Environment 6 and Java Development Kit 7. If you are using an Windows system, upgrade to Windows 7 or 8 (making Android apps is possible on Windows Vista too, but hardly anyone uses that one!). The space requirement for Android SDK is the same, and the minimum display resolution level is 1280×800.
  2. Check the JDK – It is worth double-checking for the presence of Java Development Kit (JDK) on your system, before getting down to the actual development process. According to leading Android app developers, errors and bugs can crop up – if older, incorrect versions of JDK are installed. Simply type the commands ‘which java’ and ‘java-version’, and see the result displayed. In case JDK is missing from your system, visit the Oracle website and download the latest version.

Note: Mac systems generally come pre-installed with JDK.

3. Working with Eclipse – Instead of working with Android Studio, you can opt to work with the Eclipse IDE as well. Ideally, get a thorough idea of both the IDEs, and then take a call on which one you would like to code in. Download the Eclipse 3.5 Galileo package and install the latest Android Development Toolkit plugin. For a detailed Android Studio vs Eclipse comparison, click here.

4. Starting a new project – Okay then, you have Eclipse/Android Studio, you have the SDK…and now it’s time to start with the app development. If you are on the Android Studio IDE, click on File → New Project → Configure your New Project, from the ‘Welcome’ screen. Fill up the ‘Company Domain’, ‘Application Name’ and ‘Package Name’ fields correctly. On Eclipse, start the new project by File → New → Other → Android → Android Application Project.

Note: For making native Android apps, many developers use the Xamarin.Android tool as well.

5. Choose the SDK version – This one is tricky business. Android updates are notorious for their extreme fragmentation (one of the main reasons for the low adoption rates of the latest versions – simply because people do not get the update simultaneously, unlike iOS). In the ‘Min SDK Version’, specify the oldest Android platform version that your app will be compatible with. Do not select a version older than Android Froyo (API 8). By the same token do not select Android 5.0 Lollipop or 6.0 Marshmallow. The user-base of your application will become very limited in such cases.

6. Use the build systems – In Eclipse, Android app developers have the ‘Ant System’, while Android Studio has Google’s own ‘Android Build System’. With either of the two, several things can be done – right from generating a wide range of APKs with the same resources, to configuration and extension of the overall build process. Code reusability – a vital aspect of mobile app development – is also facilitated by the build systems of the IDEs.

7. Get familiar with the views and the project structure – Next up, you need to learn the project hierarchy and the different views (available in Android Studio). ‘Res’ and ‘Src’ are the folders in Eclipse where the XML layouts/images and the source codes (program lines) are stored respectively. There is an ‘Assets’ folder as well, and if you keep files there – you have to reference them by giving the full path ID. On the other hand, Android Studio offers several alternative Views of the project to developers (Project view, Android view, Tests view, Packages view, Production view, Project Files view, Problems view and Scratches view). Each of the views has its own features. Check out all of them to get a proper understanding of how your app is shaping up.

8. What is the Package Name all about? – Let’s here pause for a bit and explain what the Package Name (that you had filled up earlier) is all about. Any Android app development expert worth his/her salt will tell you that tracking the updates on your app is vital. The Package Name serves as the key for such tracking – and hence, you need to choose a unique name, to avoid confusions later on. Most app companies feel that it is best to go with a com.mycompanyname.myapplication format.

Note: The above steps should have enabled you to create a basic ‘Hello World’ app for Android.

9. Run your application – You have three different ways to run Android apps in the Android Studio system. From the IDE itself, run it by clicking ‘Run’. Select ‘Choose a running device’ → ‘OK’ in the ‘Choose Device’ window that pops up next. From the command line, developers can build new projects in debug mode with the help of Gradle. Once the .apk debug file is created, type $chmod +x gradlew (on Mac) or >gradlew.bat assembleDebug (on Windows). Install a ‘MyFirstApp-debug.apk’ file, find it on your device and run it. On handsets running on Android 4.0 or higher, you can enable USB debugging, under Settings → Developer Options.

Note: On Android 4.2 Jellybean or later phones, you need to go to Settings → About Phone, and then tap the ‘Build Number’ tab 7 times.

10. Adding list views and including rows – This bit can be just a bit confusing for new Android developers (if you have worked on the iOS platform earlier, you will have some idea). For all the views you want in the UI (including labels and buttons), you will have to define and add XML tags. XML attributes are required for defining properties like colour and position. Next, a ‘list view’ has to be created – which will fully fit the system screen. You can now add rows to the list view. Remember that every row needs to have a text as well as a thumbnail.

11. What’s this thing called Emulators? – Irrespective of whether you use Eclipse or Android Studio, you will have to create Android Virtual Device(s) first. These AVDs are generically known as ‘emulators’. Tools → Android → AVD Manager is the path to follow, to launch an emulator in Android Studio. In Eclipse, you need to select ‘New’ in the ‘Android SDK and AVD Manager’ dialog box that appears. Make sure that the SD Card Size is set at 16 MiB. After the emulator boots, the app is automatically run on it.

Note: For separate versions of Android, different AVDs can be created and used in Eclipse.

12. Customize your app – When you make a mobile app, you simply have to assign maximum importance to its usability. For this, adjusting the application to make it compatible with different screen sizes and platform versions is essential. Use your raw vector resources to prepare the layout and generate images of different size-scale and density for hdpi (1.5), Idpi (0.75), xhdpi (2.0) and mdpi (1.0) generalized densities. There are four separate size forms as well – large, small, normal, xlarge. For customizing the app for multiple platform version support, mobile app developers have to properly define the ‘Target’ and ‘Minimum’ API levels, as well as monitor the system version during runtime. To bolster the chances of high initial downloads (vital for a new app’s ranking at the Play Store), you should provide multiple language support as well.

13. Use Fragments to make your app dynamic – It’s time to polish the UI of your app and make it more immersive and user-friendly. Provided that you are on Android Studio, you can use the ‘Fragment’ class – for lifecycle management and specification of the layout (each ‘fragment’ has its own layout). Make the overall UI flexible, so that users get different views on devices with different screen sizes. For instance, a tab can show two fragments simultaneously – but on a smaller screen, only one fragment will be viewable at a time. In Eclipse, you have to learn how to manage the QuoteReaderActivity.java and the QuoteReader.java files. An AndroidManifest XML file is required too.

14. Monitor the performance of your app – Is the app you made a memory/bandwidth hog? This is something you need to know, and if required, rectify, during the Android app testing phase. For checking the memory allocation requirements of your application, use the ‘Allocation Tracker’ in Android Studio. Using ‘Heap Dump’ files to check memory usage is advisable. An overview of the app’s performance can be obtained from the custom ‘CPU and Monitor View’ in the IDE. For verifying expressions, references and variables, the inline debugging method is quick and developer-friendly.

15. Get your developer license – Unlike the $99 that iOS app developers have to pay annually to remain in the Apple Developer Program, becoming a licensed Android developer is a way cheaper affair. You will have to pay a one-time fee of $25, use a keytool command to generate a private key (which doubles up as the signature on your app), and then, compile the project in Release mode. You should now be ready to submit your app to the Play Store.

On average, an Android app development project takes twice the time required to create an iPhone app. In November, the total number of apps in Play Store breached the 1,800,000 mark. Depending on whether you are using Android Studio or Eclipse, there are many other advanced things to be learnt (for system permissions, data saving, location sharing, graphics/animation, etc.). This discourse was about the very basics of making Android applications – and once you have mastered these steps, you can move on to making more complex, realistic and useful applications.

Buy iPhone 6S Now Or Wait For iPhone 7? – A Debate

The iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus have been strong ‘tock’ follow-ups to the record-breaking flagship iPhone 6, which was released in 2014. According to early estimates, Apple managed to sell nearly 23 million iPhone 6S/6S Plus handsets in the September quarter. While the reviews have been mostly positive, many mobile device experts as well as iOS app developers feel that it might be just that bit more prudent to wait for the ‘tick’ iPhone 7 (to be launched this fall) than rushing to get the iPhone 6S. We here consider this iPhone 6S vs iPhone 7 debate on a point-by-point basis:

 

  1. One’s a flagship; the other’s an upgrade – This is something where the ‘tick’ releases have always stayed ahead of the ‘tock’ iPhones from the Cupertino company. iPhone 4, iPhone 5 and iPhone 6 each came with new tweaks in their form factors (Retina display in iPhone 4, the first 4” display in iPhone 5, and the ‘large’ 4.7” screen in iPhone 6). The upgrades, like iPhone 5S and iPhone 6S, have come with additional features and functions on the same form-factor. Given that we are less than a year away from getting something absolutely new from Apple, spending money now on iPhone 6S (which would feel old in a matter of months) does not seem a great idea.
  2. iOS 10 will debut on iPhone 7 – If one glitch regarding the otherwise well-performing iPhone 6 is to be spotted, that would be the troublesome initial iterations of iOS 8. The hurried iOS 8.0.1 and iOS 8.0.2 fixes were useless, and the OS finally became stable with the arrival of the 8.4 update. On the other hand, general users and iPhone app developers agree as one that the iOS 9 platform (which arrived with iPhone 6S) has been a lot less problematic, with the company focusing on stability and performance reliability. Although unlikely, there remains an outside chance that the totally revamped iOS 10 will again have some early hiccups – and on that count, going for the iPhone 6S now would be a ‘safe’ option. You can always move on to iPhone 7 when the uncertainties over iOS 10 get sorted out.
  3. iPhone 7 will be slimmer – This one is a double-edged knife. The proposition of owning a slimmer iPhone is attractive – but it also has to be considered that there would be very little space in the iPhone 7 for its battery to be put in. This puts a question-mark over its battery performance. However, the probability of iPhone 7 having a larger battery than the one in iPhone 6S cannot be ruled out either – since the fabrication process involved will be smaller. Mobile app development experts expect iOS 10 to have new battery-saving features as well. Once again, there is some uncertainty about this – and unless you are a hardcore Apple fanboy, you might not want to be among the earliest adopters of iPhone 7.
  4. No ‘Home’ button, probably? – Apple has been toying with the idea of introducing edge-to-edge display screens on its new iPhones for some time now – and this might just happen in 2016. Several noted designers and those who make apps have opined that it is indeed likely that iPhone 7 would, in all likelihood, have the ‘Home’ button shunted to the side, providing users with more screen real estate. In any case, the arrival of 3D Touch has somewhat done away with the need for a dedicated ‘Home’ button, and it might disappear altogether from the screen in the next iPhone version.
  5. Processor speed and RAM – There is nothing to cringe about the A9 SoC chipset of iPhone 6S, but Apple is likely to take things a couple of notches higher with the A10 chipset in iPhone 7. The new processor should make the device significantly faster as well as energy/bandwidth saving. Add to this the fact that the new iPhone will have higher RAM space (probably 3GB) than the existing iPhone 6S – and this itself becomes a big reason to wait for a few months for iPhone 7.
  6. iPhone 7 will be tougher & more resistant – The Ion X dual glass cover of iPhone 6S is definitely an improvement over the Gorilla Glass display of its predecessor, iPhone 6. However, many experts from the domain of iOS app development feel that Apple missed a trick by not going for the Sapphire glass display this year – something that is almost sure to be rectified in the iPhone 7. Given that the sapphire glass screen of Apple Watch has already come in for uniform praise, it is only natural that it would make an appearance on the iPhone as well sooner rather than later. Also, the iPhone 7 will be fully waterproof, unlike iPhone 6S or any of its predecessors.
  7. Better camera features are expected – If the strong rumours in different online iOS forums and app development groups are to be believed, the iPhone 7 will be a stretch ahead of iPhone 6S in terms of camera capabilities too. A dual-lens system is likely to be included, along with high-end DSLR technology – building on the powerful new snapper that this year’s iPhone has come with. For users who love to snap photos with their smartphone, iPhone 6S is a very nice tool, but iPhone 7 will be better.
  8. Qualcomm chip will make way – Reports from reliable sources like VentureBeat suggest this. Apple will be collaborating with Intel, to include the powerful LTE 7360 modem chip in iPhone 7 (in place of the Qualcomm LTE 9X45 chip present in iPhone 6S). Already, a large team from Intel has been appointed for creating the new chip in time for the 2016 release of iPhone 7. Accessing and exchanging data over the 4G network is likely to become a lot faster and more secure. Along with the new fabrication, the Intel chip should make the iPhone 7 the most efficient iDevice till date.
  9. The Xc series might make a comeback – With the market share of Samsung dipping fast in China (along with a gradual fall in its share in the global smartphone market as well), Apple should, and probably will, try to ramp up the pressure on the South Korean company. Market analysts and iOS app development professionals feel that the ‘iPhone Xc’ line of phones might make a return with iPhone 7. The broad principle will be like that of the under-performing iPhone 5C, although Apple has its task cut out for making it a much more user-friendly ‘budget’ smartphone. Also, iPhone 7C (if it indeed comes) is likely to arrive in a ‘tick’ year for Apple – and that means 2017, not 2016.
  10. OLED screens will replace LCD screens – Apple will be playing a catch-up game here, since several Android smartphones already have OLED screens. The Cupertino tech giant has got its feet wet with OLED display on the Apple Watch, and the positive feedback on it indicates that it is likely to replace the LCD screen of iPhone 6S soon enough. A major advantage of OLED is that it can generate light on its own, unlike LCD (which needs backlighting for the screen pixels to be illuminated). Why bother buying an iPhone with LCD screen, if one with the much more efficient OLED screen is just around the corner?
  11. Wireless charging will be a convenient feature – And it is more than likely to make its debut on iPhone 7, feels most experts from leading software and mobile app companies worldwide. Patent applications for the technology have already been forwarded to the Patent & Trademark Office in USA, and it will be a big surprise if Apple does not manage to implement it in time for the release of the new flagship iPhone version. Android fans might scoff about Apple thinking about introducing wireless charging only now…but still, it’s a start, and it’s something iPhone 6S does not have.
  12. Chances of a full HD iPhone finally arriving – Rumours were rife that iPhone 6S will have a full HD display (along with, probably, a quad HD feature for the iPhone 6S Plus phablet). Apple, however, managed to disappoint users and developers alike – by keeping the resolution at the same level as it was in the 2014 iPhone 6. While it cannot be said for certain that the iPhone 7 will have full-HD pixel quantity, it is reasonably sure that the display resolution will be improved significantly.
  13. 32 GB storage at entry level – The very fact that Apple has persisted with a 16GB entry level model till now is baffling in itself. Consider this: you spend big bucks to buy a 16GB iPhone 6S – click and store a few 12 MP images, and run out of space within a matter of weeks! Not pleasant, right? Thankfully, this model is all set to be ditched in 2016. iPhone 7 will be available 32GB, 64GB and 128GB models. Entry-level buyers will get a better option.
  14. Sidewall display in iPhone 7 – Yet another piece of innovation that makes the upcoming iPhone 7 a more attractive device than the existing iPhone 6S. There have been reports and leaked images filtering in from Apple developers and testers, which suggest that the display of iPhone 7 might stretch all along the device (sidewall display). What’s more, Apple is likely to take a cue from the Samsung Galaxy phones, and introduce curved display. The thinnest-ever smartphone certainly looks like it will have a whole new form factor!
  15. Better battery performance – Although the lesser thickness (between 6.0 to 6.5 mm) of iPhone 7 does cast a shadow over how the battery will be fitted in it – the overall battery performance is certain to be better than that of iPhone 6S. A recent ValueWalk survey revealed that more than 90% of the 3000+ respondents were not happy with the battery juice of this year’s iPhone model. In addition, 3 out of 10 people felt that battery life can be enhanced by using better chips in the phone. Now, we know that iPhone 7 will have A10 chipset and a new Intel chip – so its battery should last longer.

 

Although it seems rather far-fetched at present, there is a growing buzz about iPhone 7 having a built-in application that would enable users purchase the Apple Car (most developers and Apple enthusiasts do not feel Apple Car will arrive before 2019 though). There was no change in the pricing of iPhone 6S from its predecessor – but iPhone 7, with all its new features and design improvements, will surely be more pricey. For those with deep pockets and a love for new features should definitely wait for the iPhone 7. Only if you feel that the new specs listed above won’t be of any great use for you (and your need for getting an iPhone is immediate), go for the iPhone 6S.

 

After all, the wait is not long!