Features

Why Apple needs a smaller, cheaper iPhone SE

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Hours from now, Apple will very likely take the wraps off a new iPhone, a smaller iPhone that’s more affordable and more suited for those who think one-handed usage should be an option regardless of the task.

The iPhone SE, or whatever Apple decides to call it, is all but certain to replace the iPhone 5s as the cheapest iPhone available, though it begs the question: Does Apple really need this iPhone to grow its business? The short answer is yes. However, a far more important question is why Apple is releasing a watered-down version of a great phone.

We think there are three explanations for Apple’s second attempt at a mid-tier handset (rest in peace, iPhone 5c).

Two iPhone announcements in a year

The first is the most obvious: Coming out with another iPhone line allows Apple to rain on Samsung’s Galaxy S parade in February or March, while at the same time undercutting its chief competition with a cheaper but not necessarily more capable product, although it can be a springboard to introduce new features and design changes. In a way, it can be a preview of things to expect in September’s iPhone.

Apple can even bump up future announcement dates for its smaller and cheaper iPhone to hijack the hype of Android devices announced at the annual International CES [Consumer Electronics Show] and Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress.

It’s a win for Apple, but that’s assuming the handset is a big hit. Which is assuming quite a lot given Apple’s recent failure in the midrange. And by “failure,” we mean the iPhone 5c didn’t take off as expected, with 9to5 Mac reporting last year that the iPhone 5c accounted for only 8.5 percent of active iPhones at the time.

iPhone for emerging markets

Apple’s smartphone shipments are expected to fall short of projections for the first time since 2003, despite its retail efforts in China. Add to that the slowing smartphone adoption rates in countries where Apple is considered a top contender, and it’s not surprising to see the company setting its sights to India and other emerging economies. India, after all, has leapfrogged the U.S. into second place in terms of smartphone shipments last year.

But here’s the thing: Low-priced Android phones dominate low-income markets, and, price-wise, current iPhone models, with the exception of the iPhone 5s, aren’t competitive enough. But that may soon change with the arrival of the iPhone SE, even though we don’t expect it to be cheap.

A reasonable estimate would be around $US400 (Php19,000), which is still cheaper than paying full price for an off-contract iPhone 6s (starts at $US650). And let’s not forget that carrier subsidies could write off the upfront cost of the cheaper iPhone, putting it in the hands of more consumers.

A “new” iPhone 5s

Perhaps we don’t need to tell you this, but it’s time to retire the iPhone 5s. It has been on shelves for years now, which is too long in the fast-paced mobile industry; the hardware is already showing its age, as any iPhone 5s user on iOS 9.2.1 will tell you. Next to a 2016 Android phone in the midrange, the iPhone 5s right now is about as appealing as a pair of Crocs, or a minivan.

Most of the leaks surrounding the upcoming iPhone suggest a 4-inch phone that’s just as capable as the 4.7-inch iPhone 6s, and they’re probably not far off, if only because Apple can’t use the same components it used to build the iPhone 5s for reasons stated above.

If Apple wants the iPhone SE to succeed in the long term, it’s going to have to pack enough oomph to run the current iOS version, the next and the one after that without performance issues. We don’t see that happening with anything less than what the iPhone 6s offers.

Image credit: Nick Beeep

Features

Singapore’s first iPhone XS buyer goes all out

He went for the 512GB storage!

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Whenever new iPhones launch, a familiar scene is people lining up in front of Apple Stores long before launch date. The same is true in Singapore where the iPhone XS and XS Max officially became available on Friday, September 21.

We visited the Apple Store in Orchard Road and caught up with the first person to cop the new iPhones. His name is Daniel and he went all out getting two units of gold iPhone XS Max with 512GB of storage. Watch our interview with him.

The same situation is true elsewhere in the world. In countries like the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, and more, lines formed as those who pre-ordered got ready to claim the new iPhones.

This is the first time that the two sizes of iPhones feature the same specs. In years past, there was always a plus model that had more features other than just having a bigger form factor. In 2018, the only difference is the screen size — 5.8 inches for the iPhone XS and 6.5 inches for the iPhone XS Max. Both phones are equipped with the new A12 Bionic processor. Apple says it’s their smallest and most powerful chip to date. Both also sport dual cameras.

The Apple Watch Series 4 also launched today. It’s a significant update to Apple’s primary wearable featuring medical advantages other than the usual improvements. As always, it still is a lifestyle gadget and comes with an array of available looks.

SEE ALSO: Apple iPhone XS unboxing: Beautiful gold color!

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Smartphones

Apple iPhone XS unboxing: Beautiful gold color!

We have them early!

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It’s now mid-September and if you’ve been following technology news, you’d know that means one thing: new iPhones from Apple. And if you’ve been following GadgetMatch closely the last few years, you’d expect us to be brewing content by now.

This year, we got them early. What we are unboxing the 5.8-inch model, dubbed the iPhone XS and the bigger variant, the iPhone XS Max. There’s also a more affordable 6.1-inch iPhone XR coming later in October.

The box has not changed much — it’s still the same minimalist white box with the image of the phone you’re getting. Inside are a packet with manuals and stickers, USB-A charging brick, Lightning cable, and a pair of Lightning EarPods (not AirPods, they just look alike).

It’s worth noting that the bundled charger is the regular adapter and cable from yesteryears, even if the new iPhones already support fast charging. To get fast charging on the iPhone XS and XS Max, you need to spend an additional US$ 75 for a Lightning to USB-C Cable and a 29W USB-C adapter.

Since omitting the 3.5mm headphone jack, these new iPhones are also the first ones to not include a headphone jack to Lightning dongle — an extra US$ 9 purchase if you ever need one.

Unlike previous years where you need to get the bigger model to have the best features iPhones have to offer, the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are essentially the same phones — the latter just has a bigger display and battery capacity.

The iPhone XS and XS Max also come in a new beautiful gold color, something similar to our favorite iPhone 8 and 8 Plus color from last year — a subtle, non-tacky shade of gold. A slightly darker gold but shiny stainless steel band also highlights the edges of the phones. Button and port placements have not changed, and the notch housing Apple’s TrueDepth Camera technology lives on.

We have more iPhone content coming in the next few days so make sure to stay tuned for that. Our unboxing video is also coming where we unboxed a new case color as well. Subscribe to our YouTube channel if you haven’t yet.

SEE ALSO: Apple iPhone XS cruises to top of AnTuTu benchmark ranking

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Marvel’s Spider-Man, Iron Fist: Now Playing

All about action and some romcom!

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The past few weeks have been crazy for the GadgetMatch team, like always. We’re still recovering from the announcements from IFA 2018 and the recent iPhone launch. Of course, to avoid burnouts, we take breaks and keep ourselves entertained. Here’s what’s now playing for GadgetMatch.

Games to play

Marvel’s Spider-Man
Rodneil: There was so much hype surrounding this game and rightfully so, since Insomniac Games is dealing with one of the most loved superheroes of all time. They had to get plenty of things right and they more than delivered. Insomniac was able to capture the very essence of Spider-Man and translate it into a video game that will please both video game fans and Spidey fans who might want to try the game. It’s a lot of fun to play and you feel exactly like the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man swinging across New York.

Movies to see

Bleach (Live Action)
Rodneil: Bleach — both the manga and the anime — was considered one of the top three in its genre during its run. The live action version tackles the Substitute Shinigami arc which is essentially the origin story of how protagonist Kurosaki Ichigo gets the powers of a soul reaper. If you’ve read the manga or saw the anime, you’ll know that this arc flows so seamlessly to the one that follows it that it almost feels like just a single arc. The live action version does a good job of creating some sort of finality in the movie that in case it never gets the green light for a sequel, you wouldn’t mind as much.

If this is your introduction to the Bleach lore, it doesn’t disappoint. For the most part, it’s a faithful adaptation and was translated admirably to a feature film. If you decide to watch the anime because of this, watch only until the end of the Arrancar arc and definitely skip the Bount arc (episodes 64-109). You’re welcome.

To all the boys I’ve loved before
MJ: To all the boys I’ve loved before is the show I’ve been dying to see ever since I heard it’s going to have its film adaptation on Netflix. It’s a feel-good movie that will make you remember what it feels like to have crushes, secret feelings, and writing letters — things that our teenage selves did back then.

Kissing Booth
MJ: What if you made a pact to your best friend that you can’t fall in love with his brother, even if he’s really, really charming (and hot)? Netflix’s Kissing Booth is about a girl falling in love with her best friend’s older brother and in a sudden turn of events, forced to choose between following their friendship’s set of rules or following her heart. It’s a movie about secrets, loyalty, and betrayal, but above all, it’s a romantic comedy to entertain you during your idle hours.

Set It Up
Chay: I’ve been in the mood for feel-good romcoms lately, and Netflix’s Set It Up did not disappoint. Like most romantic comedies, it’s predictable and cheesy, although it did come with a twist I didn’t really expect. I very much appreciate that both protagonists’ personal issues are realistic enough to be relatable to people my age.

TV shows to binge watch

Shingeki No Kyojin (Attack on Titan) Season 3
Rodneil: Attack on Titan was a well-received anime when it first came out and three seasons in, it hasn’t missed a beat. At first it was just about humans taking shelter inside a walled city for protection versus mindless, humongous, man-eating monsters, only to find out later on that the real monsters lie inside the walls lording over the people trying to survive. Season three is still ongoing and it looks like the theme is about uncovering the truth about the Titans.

Insatiable
MJ: Insatiable means impossible to satisfy, which is all about the main character, Patty Bladell, who was once fat and bullied for her appearance, and turned skinny to get revenge by winning pageants and getting a crown. But it doesn’t stop there. It takes a pretty dark turn when the title comes into play, as the show is also about vengeance, bad decisions, and what it means to be really beautiful. To critics, it’s an inconsistent show. But for the audience, we absolutely love it. It’s really, really, fun!

Marvel’s Iron Fist Season 2
Marvin: If you aren’t a fan of Iron Fist’s first season, the second one may change the way you look at the series. It’s less centered around Danny Rand, who many viewed to be the main problem of Season 1. Even though he’s the primary protagonist, his lessened screen time allows other (more interesting) characters to shine. Plus, the fight scenes are way more exciting this time — no longer a low point of an action-filled superhero series.

Albums/Songs/Podcasts to listen to

Momoland (All Songs on Spotify)
Rodneil: I have officially been consumed by this K-pop group. “Bboom Bboom” went viral this year and they followed it up with “Baam.” Both songs are lively and great so I decided to listen to the rest of their songs and I haven’t stopped since. My favorites are “Curious,” “Bingo Game,” “Hug Me,” and “Love Sick.”

Sana Bumalik” by Sud
Rodneil: The song itself is just okay; it talks about that universal feeling of wanting someone back. To truly appreciate what Sud did here, you first have to watch the music video for their other song called “Sila.” That’s part one of the story they’re trying to tell. While the songs don’t exactly match the narrative of the videos, they do match the mood, and for fans who followed both videos, it’s exciting to see the cast return as we get to see how their story unfolds.

Cities/Places to visit

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Anilao
Marvin: Anilao, which is found along the west coast of Batangas in the Philippines, is best known for its incredible diving areas, but little do people realize that it’s a perfect spot for a relaxing getaway, as well. Situated on the tranquil side of the ocean and far away from big cities, its beaches are ideal for long walks and star gazing — not at all for surfing or other extreme water sports. But be warned: It’s a lot easier to find than it is to leave.

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Sagada
MJ: Sagada is the best place to visit when you’re on the verge of having a breakdown or you just want to take a break. It’s a quiet, laid-back town situated in the northern mountains of the Philippines. Surrounded by pine trees and fog enveloping the sky and the streets, this place will definitely give you a cozy retreat while wearing your favorite sweater, sipping hot coffee, and doing some soul searching.

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Berlin
Chay:
My first time in Berlin wasn’t short of both unfortunate mishaps and fun stories to tell. It’s a city that doesn’t forget and whose most popular landmarks tell its history. It offers pockets of charming places here and there, efficient public transport, and good food. Admittedly I had way more doner kebab and Vietnamese food during my stay instead of German sausages.


Now Playing is the GadgetMatch team’s favorite games, movies, TV shows, and more each month. If you’re curious to know what we’re into at the moment, this is what you should check out. So grab your popcorn, get some drinks, and enjoy what’s now playing!

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