When will the iPhone 6 come out?

Friends and colleagues who know I follow Apple developments closely often ask me “When will the iPhone 6 come out?”. I thought I’d create a quick summary blog to answer this question as best we can without absolute confirmation from Apple.

To answer this question it may be helpful to look at recent history:

  • The first iPhone was released on June 29, 2007
  • The iPhone 3G was then released on July 11, 2008
  • The iPhone 3GS was released June 19, 2009
  • The iPhone 4 was released on June 24, 2010
  • The iPhone 4S was released on October 14, 2011
  • The iPhone 5 was released on September 21, 2012
  • And finally the iPhone 5C and the iPhone 5S were released on September 20, 2013

I would therefore expect the iPhone 6 to launch either on September 19th or September 20th 2014.  I would not be surprised if Apple launched their new iWatch on the same day.

The new iPhone 6 will probably initially launch with a larger 5.5 inch display and will be followed in October / November by the smaller 4.7 inch display.  The main features will be a new display coating made from Sapphire crystal, a faster processor, higher minimum memory and probably some additional sensors and improvements to Siri.

As I hear more I’ll update this blog post.

Apple iCloud KeyChain Web Developers Best Practice Guide

Apple’s password manager (iCloud KeyChain for Safari) may not be the best password manager but that’s completely irrelevant because by now it’s already the most popular, most widely adopted password manager in the World. It’s therefore important that you make sure your website is compatible with this piece of Apple technology. As a user of Apple’s Safari I’m increasingly shocked at the number of major websites that are not compatible with the Apple password manager.

Testing that your site works with Apples iCloud password manager will improve your User Experience (UX) and also improves your sites security.  In my experience people are much more likely to use a strong password if Safari picks the password for them.  In addition to this Safari generates a random strong password for each site, so the chances of a hack on one site being used to gain access to another are greatly reduced.

The key points to making your site compatible are:

  1. Make sure that testing your site against the Safari password manager is incorporated into your user acceptance test plans from now on.
  2. Make sure that testing includes your password change page and password recovery pages. Specifically make sure that when your user picks a new password that this gets saved away properly by Safari and is used next time they need to logon.
  3. Make sure that your site can accept the long complex passwords generated by Safari – currently 15 long containing upper and lower case and dashes.  For example:

    Apple Safari Web designers and developers password manager guidelines.
    The most frequent issue we encounter is that sites don’t allow the hyphen in passwords.

  4. Make sure that your website does not undermine this great security by then emailing out this strong password to the user/customer as part of their registration confirmation.
  5. Make sure that your website does not store passwords as clear text in its database. It should be using a one way hashing algorithm so that the password itself can never be retrieved.

If you discover any hints or tips for making your website work really well with Apple’s Safari / iCloud KeyChain password manager do please get in touch and leave a comment below.  We’ll be sure to update this blog post as we discover more about it.

Does Audi support Apple CarPlay?

Does Audi support Apple CarPlay?

Apple CarPlay allows you to connect your iPhone 5+ via the lightning connector and have selected apps displayed in a simplified form on the dashboard. The simplified form means that the driver isn’t distracted by all the usual fun and features of a their iPhone.

Will Audi ever support Apple CarPlay?

I’m desperate for this functionality in my Audi.  I drive a high end model that’s only a year old but the Audi MMI system is like something from days of MS/DOS and painfully slow and clunky. Even the MMI integration with the iPhone that it supports doesn’t work that well.  I’ve now given up with it and put a cheap air vent iPhone holder next to the steering wheel and use the TomTom App for navigation which is infinitely superior to the Audi built in satnav. I’ve got an iPod touch in the glove compartment connected to the MMI interface for music and podcasts.

When I heard about the Apple CarPlay system I got excited. Some car manufactures are planning to offer upgrades to existing customers so that their cars can support CarPlay. Anyway I tend to replace my car every 2 or 3 years so I thought no doubt my next Audi would support CarPlay.

Sadly it doesn’t look like Audi are planning to support CarPlay. Their name is missing from the list of manufactures on the Apple website.  Further Audi is currently backing Google and an initiative called the Open Automotive Alliance launched in January 2014 at the CES trade show in Las Vegas.

So at the time of writing (March 8th 2014) there is no public sign that I’ve been able to find that Audi have any plans at all to support Apple CarPlay. I can’t honestly believe that they won’t ultimately have to back both standards or risk losing serious market share.  You see the thing is these days all new cars are actually really good so the purchasing decision is heavily influenced by little things like dashboard features.  Ask any car sales man these and they’ll tell you that one of the most frequently asked questions they get is ‘will it work with my iPhone’. I hope Audi do get tho sorted out in the next 12 months before I look to change my car or I’ll certainly very seriously consider another car brand.

As and when I receive any more information on Audi’s plans for Apple CarPlay I’ll post an update.

Update June 26th 2014:  At its Google I/O developer’s conference in San Francisco, this week they announced Android Auto, their answer to Apple’s CarPlay. Much like CarPlay, Android Auto is designed to bring the Android experience to a car’s in-dash infotainment system.

Google said that Android Auto is contextually aware and puts the apps that users need front and centre on the car’s dashboard. Google stressed that Android Auto is “completely voice enabled,” relying on Google Now much the way CarPlay relies on Siri for voice commands.  In my simple view having two such similar systems in the marketplace is yet more reason that firms like Audi need to provide a choice between Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, preferably as an automatic configuration based on whatever handset you plug into your dashboard.

Update June 27th 2014: Today Audi formally announced that they would be supporting Apple CarPlay in a press release they say, Our customers want to be ‘always on’ and use the services they know from their smartphones in cars as well,” says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Board Member for Technical Development at AUDI AG. “In this regard, we are working closely with leading companies like Google and Apple. In the future, customers will be able to use the functions available to them on their smartphones via the operating systems in their cars as well.

This is really good news for everyone. What we need to know now is when and if Audi issue an update to their MMI so that CarPLay can work with any existing models.

Update January 12th 2015: Apple have now launched a page with the official list of makes and models that support Carplay.  As of today the list of Audi models supporting Carplay  is still shamefully small with just the A4 and Q7 being listed.  It’s interesting that their parent company VW are showing that they support CarPlay on almost every model.

How can I watch BBC iPlayer using my Apple TV?

Update: December 2015The blog post below refers to the second and third generation Apple TV.  The 4th generation Apple TV launched in September 2015 has it’s own App Store. In early December 2015 the BBC launched their own native Apple TV 4 BBC iPlayer App. You can simply download and use this from the Apple TV App Store.  At this time there is no mention of this being ported back to the earlier Apple TV devices and this doesn’t seem likely. If you are still using one of the earlier Apple TV units then the blog post below will still work very well. 

 

It’s really easy to use BBC iPlayer with the second generation Apple TV but to do it you’ll need an iPhone or iPod Touch.  Just download the BBC iPlayer App free of charge from the Apple App Store.  It’s a really great App. I really like the favourites function so you can mark the programmes you are interested in so that you can quickly get to them through the favourites menu.  Check you’ve got the latest version of the BBC iPlayer application installed.  To do this just find the App Store icon on your iPhone and make sure there are no pending updates.

How to use BBC iPlayer with Apple TV

 

When you start to play a programme you should then see the Apple Air Play icon on the bottom right of the display as shown above.  Just press this and then select your Apple TV device from the list.  If you don’t see your Apple TV device in the list then do a quick restart on the Apple TV.  For some reason mine seems to drop off the network when it goes into power save mode.  To do a restart go to the General menu on the Apple TV, scroll down to the bottom of that menu and select restart.  If you then try the Air Play icon again you should see your Apple TV device and a few moments later the programme will start to play through your TV.  At this point you can press the off switch on your iPhone to save the battery and you can control iPlayer using the Apple TV remote control.

For me this works brilliantly and we use it all the time now to watch iPlayer in our sitting room.  It would still be great if one day the BBC and Apple could cooperate to bring iPlayer directly onto the Apple TV but for now this is nearly as good.

Looking forwards to Apples WWDC 2011

On June 6th we’ll finally get to hear Apple’s next batch of announcements.  This time it has been a little different.  Normally Apple are very secretive and there is no official word in advance about what is going to be announced but this time we’ve seen several press releases about iCloud and other product updates ahead of WWDC.  But even at this stage we know little more than the product name and several of the new features that we’ll see is Lion.  This is an important event for the whole IT, technology and Electronic industry these days as Apple set the standard and in many cases make the market for so many innovations these days.   In the time honoured tradition I thought I’d better go on record and say what I would like to see Apple announce at WWDC:

  1. iCloud for streaming and storing any content you have in iTunes.  I worry that my iTunes isn’t backed up properly because its so large and I don’t currently buy a lot of video based content that I would like because it will consume too much disk space on my Mac.  If you add to this the problem that the content you want tends not to be on the Apple device you have with you when you are traveling unless you are very organised and sync what you want in advance then iCloud can’t come soon enough.
  2. iCloud for backup and storage of iPhoto and other content.
  3. MobileMe either replaced or upgraded so that I can access all of my iCloud content on the go.
  4. The Post PC Era.  When Steve Jobs said we’re now in the Post PC Era I couldn’t help feeling he was slightly ahead of the technology.  As of iOS4 you still need to plug your Apple device into a Mac or PC to register it, upgrade it and sync content onto it.  For many people with old printers you still need a PC to print!  iOS5 needs to truly remove the need for a PC or Mac base station.
  5. Facetime, I would like to see an upgrade so that you can conference in two or more people on the same video call.  Now that Microsoft own Skype I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Apple counter this by brining out a Facetime client for Windows.
  6. iBooks, we need a reader application on the Mac.
  7. Time Capsule.  There have been a lot of rumours that Apple will be upgrading their router / Time Capsule and this makes a lot of sense.  A device which can sit in the home and cache or backup your content from your Apple devices acting as a buffer between your home and the iCloud would be a great solution.  I would not put it past Apple to take this one stage further.  They could allow these devices to talk to each other across the Internet to form a grid, where all the communication are coordinated via their new data centre.
  8. Lion – Security.  I’ve always recommended Mac’s over PC’s to non-technical friends and family because of their ease of use and better security.  I would like to see this taken a stage further in Lion so that by default Applications can only be installed from the Mac App Store.  Of course there would need to be a way to switch this off for more advanced users but for most of my non-technical friends this would be a welcome security improvement.  As we have seen with the recent Mac Defender Malware it’s currently too easy to trick non-technical users into install software.
  9. Voice Recognition.  I want to see this done really well on every Apple platform.  I want to be able to be able to select tracks, listen to e-mails etc while driving or laying in the bath.  I don’t want to have to press a button to initial the voice command, it needs to be triggered by a phrase.  I want this to work like the LCARS Computer on the Enterprise, “Computer: Lights Off.”

Anyway not long to wait now, I’ll be back later in the week to review my wish list and review by 2011 Wish list from back on New Years Day.