TIME Smartphones

Here’s How Many Americans Sleep With Their Smartphones

Apple Unveils iPhone 6
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Smartphone reliance is growing

Nearly three-quarters of Americans (71%) who own smartphones sleep with them — either by putting their phone on a nightstand, in their bed, or, for 3% of people, holding it in their hands.

A new mobile consumer report from Bank of America found that not only do Americans sleep with their smartphones, but the devices are also the first thing on people’s minds when they wake up: 35% of respondents said their first thought in the morning is about their smartphone; 10% said it was for their significant other.

The new report underscores an increasing trend of smartphone reliance among owners of the device, especially Millennials.

Throughout the day, more than half of Americans, about 57%, say they use their phone at least once an hour. In New York, that statistic jumps to 96%. In California, it’s 88%.

This constant interaction with smartphones means that Americans are increasingly using their phones for banking. More than half of the survey’s respondents said they use either an app, or a web browser as their primary form of banking. In California, 57% of residents are actively using a mobile banking app, mainly for banking notifications and alerts, checking balances, and mobile check deposits. By comparison, 53% of New Yorkers and Texans actively use banking apps.

Not crazy about smartphones? You might want to move to Denver. The city’s respondents are the most likely to survive without their smartphones: 49% said they would choose phone calls if they could only keep one feature of their phones (that’s 10% above the national average); and 27% of Denver respondents said they could refrain from using their phones indefinitely.

But even in Denver, the trend is inescapable: 63% of Denver residents sleep with their phones.

The Bank of America study surveyed 1,000 people who own smartphones and have banking relationships across the United States, plus 300 people in key markets such as New York, Denver, and California.

TIME Smartphones

The Apple Watch’s Best Feature Is Coming to the iPhone

Force Touch iPhone Apple Watch
Bloomberg — Getty Images A man uses the remote camera function on an Apple Watch Sport smartwatch as he holds an Apple iPhone 5s smartphone in an arranged photograph in Hong Kong, April 24, 2015.

Use the Force Touch, Luke

The Apple Watch’s Force Touch feature, which can tell the difference between harder and softer touches, will be implemented in Apple’s upcoming iPhones. The feature enables app developers to add new functionality to their software — by using Force Touch on the Apple Watch’s notifications display, for instance, users can clear all their notifications with a single touch.

According to sources familiar with the matter, Apple suppliers have begun early production of new iPhone models with the new touch screen technology, Bloomberg reports. The addition will help the new iPhones — speculated to be the “iPhone 6s” and “iPhone 6s Plus” — stay ahead of rival smartphone makers, particularly Samsung.

Force Touch was made available on Apple’s latest MacBooks, which were released in May.


TIME Innovation

We Were Wrong About Fat

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

These are today's best ideas

1. We were wrong about fat.

By Eliza Barclay at NPR

2. Want to boost graduation rates for poor students? End merit-based college scholarships.

By Meredith Kolodner at Hechinger Report

3. Here’s how the iPhone will help scientists study the unique health needs of LGBT Americans for the first time.

By Stephanie M. Lee in Buzzfeed

4. We can fight cholera by crowdsourcing better maps.

By Tom Gorman in Ozy

5. Does air pollution cause dementia?

By Aaron Reuben in Mother Jones

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Smartphones

Some T-Mobile iPhone Users Say Their Phones Are Crashing

iPhone Blue Screen, Restart, T-Mobile
Bloomberg via Getty Images T-Mobile US Inc. signage is displayed in the window of a retail store in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 23, 2014.

They're seeing the "blue screen of death"

Some T-Mobile iPhone users on Wednesday are reporting a “blue screen of death” followed by their devices restarting.

Users flustered by the problem say their iPhones are displaying the ominous blue screen randomly for a split second, then rebooting, often at 10 to 30 minute intervals, MacRumors reports. iPhones that have experienced the issue so far include the iPhone 6 Plus, 6 and 5s across several versions of iOS 8.

Though T-Mobile has not addressed the issue publicly, some users speculate the issue may be a memory problem. The carrier’s support staff has recommended to customers who call-in to try a hard reset. And if that doesn’t work, customers should try clearing out old text messages, then restoring their iPhones to factory settings with iTunes.

T-Mobile has not yet responded to TIME’s request for comment.


TIME Media

HBO Has The Most Profitable iPhone App

New Product Announcements At The Apple Inc. Spring Forward Event
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Richard Plepler, chief executive officer of Home Box Office Inc. (HBO), speaks during the Apple Inc. Spring Forward event in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Monday, March 9, 2015.

New standalone service is attracting subscribers.

Two months after its launch, HBO’s new standalone streaming service seems to be bringing in a lot of money. HBO Now was the highest-grossing highest-grossing app globally on iOS in May, according to App Annie, a research firm that tracks app sales and downloads.

At $14.99 per month, HBO Now costs significantly more than the typical apps people download. Still, the new service managed to top other streaming platforms such as Spotify and Hulu, which cost between $8 and $13 per month in the App Store.

Right now, Apple devices are still the easiest way to access HBO Now without having it bundled with something else. Optimum sells the service with its Internet package, and Sling TV offers it with a bundle of other channels delivered online. Soon Google is planning to launch the service on Android devices and Chromecast.

TIME Gadgets

6 Secret Tricks You Didn’t Know Your iPhone Could Do

Apple's I Phone  : Launch at Apple Opera Store In Paris
Chesnot—Getty Images A Woman checks the iPhone 6, on the day of its launch at the Apple Store Opera on September 19, 2014, in Paris, France.

Your phone is about to get way more useful

The iPhone always seems to have a new trick up its sleeve. Tucked away in the device’s myriad menus, there’s probably a setting or two you’ve never played with that could make the device even more useful. That’s to say nothing of the numerous gesture-based controls Apple tucks away in its mobile operating system, many of which may not be readily apparent. Chances are you could be typing faster, taking better pictures and noticing more texts with these hidden wonders.

Here, we uncover six lesser-known iPhone tricks that you can use every day:

Take Pictures Using Your Headphones

Pressing the volume-up button on Apple’s official headphones will snap a picture with the iPhone’s camera app. This is a useful trick if you’re setting up your phone on a tripod or want to ensure your shot is steady, as you won’t have to press a button on the screen to take a photo. You can also take a picture by hitting the volume buttons on the side of the iPhone itself.

Shake to Undo

Typed an error into a text or email? Simply shake the iPhone to bring up the option to Undo your last action. The gesture works in iMessage, Mail and other default apps, but developers can also implement the feature, so try it in all kinds of different apps.

Take High-Quality Photos

There’s an easy way to automatically make your iPhone camera take better pictures. With the Camera app open, select HDR On at the top of the screen to take a high dynamic range picture. An HDR photo takes three pictures of a scene and combines the best parts of each to make an image that best captures what the human eye sees.

It’s especially useful for landscapes, pictures in sunlight and photos in low light. If you’re not sure when an HDR photo is appropriate, select HDR Auto at the top of the Camera app, and the iPhone will automatically determine when to use the feature.

Enable Read Receipts

If you want to receive a text from a friend, not reply for a while, but let her know you read it, read receipts are the feature for you. The iMessage function lets other iPhone users know exactly what time you read their texts, similar to how BlackBerry’s BBM worked. To enable the feature, go to Settings, scroll down to Messages and toggle on “Send Read Receipts.” Rumor has it that the upcoming iOS 9 will also let people tailor which friends receive read receipts and which don’t.

Create Keyboard Shortcuts

You can create custom text shortcuts for long words or phrases you often use, like an email address. In the Settings menu, select General, then select Keyboard, then Add New Shortcut. The first field will ask for the long phrase you want to use and the second field will ask for the shortcut you want to stand in for the longer phrase. After the shortcut has been saved, if you type it into iMessage and press the space bar, it will automatically transform into the longer phrase.

Make your phone flash for text message alerts

Sometimes a phone vibration or chime isn’t enough to alert you to a new text message. You can use the iPhone’s LED flash as another alert signal. Simply open the Settings menu, select General, Select Accessibility, then toggle LED Flash for Alerts on.

MONEY Shopping

5 Things to Consider Before Signing a Contract With a Phone, TV or Internet Provider

Simone Becchetti—Getty Images

Contracts limit freedom.

I see offers like these on a daily basis: “Get a new iPhone for only $99; requires two-year contract,” or “Get DIRECTV for only $29.99 a month for six months; requires a one-year commitment.”

These teasers may sound great, but the companies offering them always require that customers sign a contract — and that contract usually includes a variety of stipulations.

Before you sign a new contract with a cell phone provider, Internet provider, or a cable or satellite TV provider, carefully consider the terms. Insisting on service without a contract may save you money in the long run.

Key Considerations Before Entering into a Contract

1. It’s easy to sign up, not so easy to cancel
You can easily sign up for service with these providers just by signing a contract. The process may involve a credit check, and usually involves a verbal or online agreement. Once you agree to purchase the service, you also agree to the contractual obligations. The ease with which you enter into the contract stands in harsh contrast to the amount of effort it takes to cancel a contract for a service agreement.

When you first call the company to explain that you wish to cancel the service, the service representative will unfailingly attempt to talk you out of your decision. Frequently, the phone call precipitates a large amount of paperwork that you must complete before you are free of the contract.

2. Contracts limit freedom
Once you sign a contract, you lose the freedom to continue shopping around. You are locked in, and cannot respond to competing companies that may offer better deals. Additionally, if you plan to relocate, you may still have to fulfill the contractual obligations. Many service providers’ contracts include verbiage that states that moving away from the service area does not nullify the service contract.

3. No option for price negotiation
Service providers want you to sign a contract so they can lock you into a payment agreement. Regardless of the service, prices fluctuate – yet companies lock customers into a payment agreement, and then exclude them from future price reductions. No matter how good the initial offer seems, you almost always pay more in the long run for the cost of the contract, mitigating any initial savings from the introductory promotional offer.

4. Fine print can include undesirable stipulations
Service contracts usually include extensive terms and conditions. Familiarize yourself with the fine print before signing a contract. For example, when you sign up for a cell phone plan, you may have to purchase a pricy data plan. You may also have to pay full price for your “free” movie channels when the introductory promotion ends, or pay more for a faster Internet connection after an introductory promotional period ends.

To get the best deals, discuss the length of any promotional periods – as well as cancellation fees – with a representative before signing a contract. If you have to cancel your service early, you may have to pay termination fees. Cell phone cancellation fees typically range from $95 to $450. You can also find information about cancellation fees and promotional offers online. Most service providers offer some version of the contract’s terms and conditions on their websites.

5. No contract options exist!
Currently, I am not under contract with any of my providers. This includes my cell phone, Internet, and satellite TV services. I can price shop, compare service offerings, and switch companies whenever I choose. I will never sign a contract for a service agreement; plenty of no-contract options exist amongst service providers. I may not get the benefits of special promotional deals, but I am saving money in the long run by using this strategy.

Final Thoughts

If possible, do not sign contracts with service providers. Instead, shop around and find a company that offers a similar service without requiring a service contract.

If you absolutely must sign a contract, sign a short-term contract. Don’t get locked into any contracts that last for years.

Negotiate with service representatives to get the best introductory offers and to make your contract more valuable.

Remember, once you sign a contract, you won’t be able to utilize negotiation strategies and tactics later on. Make sure you’re really happy with the deals you receive before you sign on the dotted line.

More From Len Penzo dot Com:


Apple Is Fixing The Most Annoying Thing About iPhone Updates

Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Finally, you can be frugal and purchase a 16GB iPhone without worrying about what will happen when you update your operating system.

Apple’s next mobile operating system, iOS 9, will include a feature that will temporarily delete apps to make room for the software update, MacRumors reported on Tuesday. Spotted by developers in the second beta release of the newly-announced iOS 9, the feature will notify a user that their phone lacks sufficient space when they attempt to update their operating system. It will then reinstall the deleted apps once the update is completed.

The feature will likely come in handy for users with 16GB devices who, when Apple released iOS 8, had difficulty updating their software because they didn’t have a lot of space left. At the time, the software update required 4GB of space, but Apple has apparently shrunk that down to 1.3GB.

iOS 9 is slated for release in the fall.

TIME Companies

Here’s Why Nobody Can Agree About Apple’s Stock

Apple Unveils New Versions Of Popular iPad
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an Apple announcement at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on October 22, 2013 in San Francisco, California.

Two years ago, things were looking bad for Apple investors. The stock had declined more than 40% from its peak in 2012, erasing nearly $300 billion from the company’s market cap. A debate emerged over whether the stock’s best days were over. The bears thought so. The bulls foresaw a rebound.

As we know now, the bulls were right – more right than they probably knew at the time. Apple’s stock has risen 116% in the past two years, or more than double the Nasdaq Composite’s 54% gain. But the bulk of those gains came in 2014 as the iPhone 6 sales exceeded expectations, especially in China, and as the company beefed up its dividend and buyback program.

For the past several months, though, Apple’s stock has been moving sideways — the stock peaked at $133.60 on February 24 and closed Monday at $127.61, or about 5% lower from that high point. This has ignited another burning debate between the Apple bulls and the Apple bears, who together are asking: are we headed for another Apple slump like the one that began in 2012?

The disagreement over Apple’s future involves several big questions. Let’s break them down here:

Will iPhone 6 stay hot? Since its release last fall, Apple has sold 136 million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus units through the end of March. That exceeded even some of the most bullish forecasts. Will sales remain strong through the iPhone 6S (or whatever Apple calls it) release and until the iPhone 7 is unveiled?

Bears look at the trajectory of the iPhone 5 and 5s and think not. Doug Kass of Seabreeze Partners, a longtime Apple bear, argued that “we’re well through the last important upgrade cycle” for the iPhone. But Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves said Apple’s suppliers and component orders suggest demand will remain stable, with Apple selling 52 million iPhones this quarter. That’s less than last quarter, but more than many analysts are forecasting.

Is there meaningful growth beyond the iPhone? A broader debate concerns whether Apple is relying too much on one product (the iPhone) with cyclical sales. Bears argue that it is. They point to the 29% drop in iPad sales last quarter, the fact that Macs now make up less than 10% of Apple’s revenue, and the scant impact that Apple Music, Apple Pay and Apple TV are having on growth.

More bullish analysts argue Apple is finally gaining ground and diversifying away from a reliance on the iPhone. Some see Apple Music and Apple Pay as new efforts at platforms that could add materially to profits in coming years. Katy Huberty of Morgan Stanley believes these services could make up as much as 20% of Apple’s revenue by 2017, offering a non-cyclical stability to Apple’s income.

Will new product categories bring new growth? There’s also sharp disagreement here, starting with the Apple Watch. Apple has not released any sales data on the Watch, but research firm Slice Intelligence estimated that 2.79 million units have sold since the device launched in April, with 17% of shoppers buying more than one Watch band.

Some early users of the Watch have expressed disappointment, suggesting limited mainstream appeal for the product. Others see the Watch as a work in progress, with Apple able to eventually add new features like a camera. Apple has a history of releasing products that underwhelm at first before becoming must-have devices. Few loved the first iPod on its release, and some questioned the potential of the iPhone in 2007.

Is Apple’s stock expensive? Apple is trading at 15.8 times its earnings over the past four quarters. Bulls will tell you that’s cheaper than the 20.6 ratio for the S&P 500. Bears will remind you Apple is a hardware manufacturer and is expensive relative to its peers in that sector. Either way, it’s cheaper than it was in 2012.

At UBS, Steve Milunovich noted that in 2012 Apple’s PE was above that of the S&P 500. Today, it’s lower, likely because of concerns about a slowdown in iPhone sales. Another difference from 2012: Back then, many big funds were overweight Apple, leaving little appetite to buy more shares. Apple made up 4.9% of the S&P 500’s capitalization then, and 3.9% now. And the company is spending more on dividends and buybacks today than it was two or three years ago.

The common thread throughout these areas of disagreement is the amount of faith analysts have in Apple’s ability to reiterate and improve on its existing products. If the status quo today isn’t – or can’t be – changed, then Apple is in trouble. Apple has greatly improved the iPhone over the years. It’s had less luck keeping iPad sales strong. Other products have been slow to improve: Until Apple Music, iTunes had been slow to evolve. And a better Apple TV has been awaited for years.

Apple is often seen as the premier Silicon Valley stock – a single proxy for many of the hottest areas inside tech. The reality is, for all its success and its $730 billion market cap, Apple stock has hit many rough patches in its time. It may be entering one of them now. But the long-term history of Apple shows that it never pays to bet against Apple for too long.


Why the Apple Watch Isn’t a Huge Threat to Fitbit

Fitness Tracker Company Fitbit Debuts As Public Company On NYSE
Eric Thayer—Getty Images The line of Fitbit products are displayed during a lunchtime workout event outside the New York Stock Exchange during the IPO debut of the company on June 18, 2015 in New York City.

Fitbit has an 85% share of the fitness tracker market.

Generally speaking, most companies don’t like it when Apple APPLE INC. AAPL -0.16% steps into their competitive ring, since the Mac maker has a propensity to disrupt the status quo and dominate new industries. The fitness-tracker market is extremely young, but it already faces some potential threats from the even younger smartwatch market, since smartwatches also include health and fitness tracking capabilities.

As Fitbit FITBIT INC FIT -0.33% leads the fitness-tracker pack with an estimated 85% market share, it stands to reason that it theoretically has a lot to lose if Apple Watch takes off. That may not be exactly the case.

There’s very little customer overlap
The fact is that there will be very little overlap — not only between the markets but also between the prospective customer bases.

Fitbit is targeting mainstream users who want to have greater access to their health and fitness data and hope that a small, wearable device will help get them motivated. It’s true that Apple is also appealing to users with the Apple Watch, but with one important distinction: The Apple Watch requires an iPhone. For that reason, Fitbit’s broad cross-platform support is a good defense, since the company plays nicely with Android, Windows Phone, desktop platforms, and iOS. The Apple Watch may appeal more to iPhone users, but the majority of the world’s smartphones now run Android. That’s allowed the company to grow its active user base to over 9.5 million as of the first quarter.

That’s not the only way in which there’s little overlap. Not including Fitbit’s WiFi-connected smart scale, the pricing spectrum of its fitness trackers ranges from just $60 for the clip-on Zip to $250 for the Surge smartwatch. Apple Watch, on the other hand, ranges from $350 for the Sport to $17,000 for the Edition. Apple has talked about avoiding price umbrellas in the past, but it’s extremely unlikely that the Mac maker will ever move downmarket enough to put that much direct pressure on Fitbit, especially since the Apple Watch is a multi-function device, while most of Fitbit’s devices are single-purpose.

Even in terms of brand, Fitbit is a health-centric brand, while Apple is a premium lifestyle brand. Little overlap there.

What about Google Fit?
Google GOOGLE INC. GOOG 0.22% has responded to Apple’s Health app with Google Fit, its own version of a health-tracking app. That also means the coming onslaught of Android Wear smartwatches will plug into Google’s platform directly. Fitbit has been working hard to broaden its platform into an expansive ecosystem, allowing third-party developers to use application programming interfaces and more.

In fact, Fitbit should technically be more concerned about Android Wear smartwatches than it should be about Apple, particularly since Android Wear devices will inevitably see rapid commoditization and pricing pressure as OEMs compete with each other, which will probably push the prices down closer to Fitbit territory.

The Apple Watch is undoubtedly a threat to Fitbit, but the risk isn’t as great as you might think.

Read next: 4 Health Moves That Can Make You Richer

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