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The likely announcement of a new Apple iPhone has its customers excited, even after the infamous "Bendgate" fiasco from the previous iPhone's launch. The new iPhone 6s is rumored to launch in late September, so carriers in the United States are preparing marketing and sales campaigns to get customers to upgrade.
Carriers aren't the only ones preparing, as Apple has reportedly made a few critical improvements based on lessons learned following Bendgate:
"Each new iPhone launch should hopefully be an all-around improvement, with a focus on more than just the 'bells and whistles,'" said Stacey Vogler, US managing director for Protect Your Bubble. "To avoid a repeat of last year's Bendgate, Apple appears to be looking a a stronger frame this time around."
One of the most ambitious things that was meant to happen to smartphones this year, Project Ara, has been delayed until next year. Google's modular smartphone was meant to debut this year, has been delayed until 2016.
The reason? There were "lots of iterations" of Project Ara, "more than we thought" according to the team behind the modular smartphone. There were a few posts on the official Project Ara Twitter page, where they said "where are we headed next? We are looking at a few locations in the U.S.".
At least we're only a few months away from 2016, I guess.
In a not-so-surprising move, Samsung has just made its Galaxy Note 5 smartphone official. The new Galaxy Note 5 features the same 5.7-inch display, with an identical 2560x1440 or QHD resolution, but with improved colors and sharpness.
Inside, the Galaxy Note 5 we have an 8-core Exynos 7420 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera, a non-removable 3000mAh battery, support for LTE category 9 and LoopPay's wireless credit card imitating MST technology, and much more. The Galaxy Note 5 includes the usual S Pen for your stylus action.
Moving over to the Galaxy S6 edge+, which is a spruced up Galaxy S6 edge with a larger dual-edge display, we have the same 5.7-inch QHD Super AMOLED display which is more gorgeous than ever. Inside of the S6 edge+ we have the same Exynos 7420 processor, 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, 16-megapixel rear-facing camera, 3000mAh non-removable battery, and Android 5.1 Lollipop powering both handsets. The two new smartphones come in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB options.
The main difference between the Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 edge+ is that the latter features a dual-edge display, while the former includes an S Pen.
The tablet market is dragging along in 2015, but manufacturers can appreciate rising interest in 2-in-1 tablets. Shipment volume of 2-in-1 products will increase from 11.5 million in 2015 up to 22 million in 2019, according to the Strategy Analytics research group.
"The timing could not be better for 2-in-1 Tablets as Windows 10 makes the multi-mode computing experience smoother, Intel's Skylake processors hit the market at the end of 2015, and Windows Tablets have become more cost-competitive with Android Tablets," said Peter King, service director of tablet & touchscreen strategies at Strategy Analytics.
Even though Google and Apple have found success in the tablet market, Windows offers a more familiar experience: "Windows provides a familiar environment for traditional PC vendors to compete in the Tablet market and also gives CIOs a higher level of comfort when considering higher-end Tablets in the commercial setting."
Remember all of that talk about the CurrentC mobile payment platform launching this summer? Well, it looks like Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) is facing continued volatility, and a widespread rollout may be pushed back while some retail members support Apple Pay.
MCX has the support of Target, Wal-Mart, Darden Restaurants and other retailers, and initial testing should begin later this month in Ohio, but it looks like the group continues to have problems. Partners including Best Buy and Rite Aid previously announced they would adopt Apple Pay.
"This is a long game. Certainly going faster is always better - that's not necessarily a debatable point," said Brian Mooney, CEO of MCX, in a statement to Re/code. "But we're going to do it right."
Now that the release of Windows 10 is out of the way, the next big thing for Microsoft is the refreshed Surface Pro 4 that's expected to drop sometime next month.
Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 is expected to rock Intel's new Skylake-powered processors, as well as an increase in on-screen pixels with a 4K option. There will be lower resolution offerings, but you can customize the new Surface Pro 4 to 4K if you want to spend the money. We will of course see Windows 10 powering the new Surface Pro 4 units.
The base model should feature a 10-inch 1080p display with a fanless Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM and USB Type-C connectivity. This model will pack a huge 8600mAh battery. The higher-end Surface Pro 4 will rock a Skylake-based Core i7 processor, a huge 16GB of RAM and a larger 13-inch display that can be configured up to 4K.
Apple had some news to celebrate following a strong showing in the latest quarter that ended in June, with 44.1 percent OEM market share, while iOS closed the gap to Google Android, according to the comScore research group.
Apple leads the smartphone market, gaining 1.5 percent, while Samsung (28.1 percent), LG Electronics (8.3 percent), Motorola (4.9 percent), and HTC (3.4 percent) all lost ground.
Android remained the most popular mobile OS, with 51.6 percent market share, though lost 0.8 percent - as Apple now accounts for 44.1 percent of the market. Both Google and Apple are fully dedicated to the smartphone and mobile OS market, and consumers can expect to see even more products from both companies in the years to come.
American consumers are paying for goods at checkout using a number of different payment methods, with 93 percent saying they used cash, 68 percent using debit cards or checks, and 67 percent using credit cards. None of that is too surprising, but what might shock people is that 62 percent used PayPal, according to a recent Blackhawk Network Shopper study.
In addition, 14 percent of US consumers made purchases using a mobile payment service supported by their smartphones and tablets. It's an important glimpse into payments, as mobile payments are expected to become more prevalent in the years to come.
"Consumers still have a strong preference for traditional payment methods like debit cards and prepaid cards," said Teri Llach, CMO of Blackhawk Network. "Those payments tools are not going away anytime soon, even as interest in and usage of new payment methods grows. Our findings prove that payments is not either/or when it comes to legacy payments versus emerging products; it's really about convenience and providing a mix of options."
The recent launch of Windows 10 has led to a mass migration from Windows 7 and 8/8.1 to the newest Windows OS - and there is hope Microsoft will be able to attract phone manufacturers to jump onboard. Acer is rumored to launch four new Windows 10 Mobile-powered smartphones during IFA 2015 next month in Berlin, Germany.
Acer launched the Liquid M220 using Windows 8.1, but that isn't good enough for the company - as Windows 10 Phone could be used on mid-range and high-end devices. Of course, the Liquid M220 is upgradable to Windows 10, so owners have the choice of switching things up.
It would take a lot before Windows 10 would be able to even put a dent into Google Android, but it looks like consumers may have another realistic option besides the choice between iOS and Android. Expect Microsoft to announce the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, both high-end Windows 10 Mobile during the show.
Smartphone maker OnePlus is riding some strong marketing momentum after announcing the OnePlus 2 device in late July. The new flagship phone follows up the OnePlus One, as the company continues promoting powerful devices that don't have premium price tags.
"In 5 years I think it will be Apple, OnePlus and Samsung because there's no more room in the market," said Carl Pei, OnePlus co-founder, in a statement to USA Today. "Everyone else would've died because they couldn't reach the scale they wanted fast enough or they couldn't have a margin to sustain their business. Look at the soft drink space: there are only two players, Pepsi and Coke."
Pei said the company broke even last year, and is looking to break even again in 2015, though admitted OnePlus has aggressively expanded its staff. If everything goes well, OnePlus hopes to sell 3-5 million units in 2015, but officials are more interested in what consumers think of its products.