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Google shut down a secret Android location

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Google:  Have you ever been using your Android phone in a particular spot where coverage is spotty? On the flip side, have you ever used your Android phone and thought to yourself, “Wow, coverage here is awesome!” Chances are good, Google knows about both of those times.

In fact, according to a new report from Reuters, Google actually used that information to help U.S. wireless carriers know where their coverage was good — and where it needed some work. This program — known as Mobile Network Insights — was previously unheard of until Reuters obtained information about it.

However, the program itself is no longer operating since Google shut it down in April of this year. Although the company did not say as much, it’s a good bet that Google turned Mobile Network Insights off as a preemptive move against the public finding out about it and being displeased with its existence.

To aggregate all the information about network service, Google compiled anonymous location and service data from Android phones across the United States. It only obtained this info from users who gave permission for the company to do so (by opting-in to sharing location history and usage and diagnostics with Google when you first set up your Android device) and didn’t collect any personal identifying info about any users.

Despite the seemingly-innocuous service, which apparently was only ever intended to show to the wireless carriers, pretty much anything Google does with user data is under scrutiny at the moment. With Google making headlines over data collection this year — especially when it comes to things like the GDPR — it was a wise move for Google to shut down Mobile Network Insights before someone found out about it and made it public.

According to Reuters, the wireless carriers are unhappy with the removal of the service, though, as it helped them plan network upgrades.

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Disney chief Bob Iger quits Apple board

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Disney’s chief executive Bob Iger resigned from the board of Apple on the same day that the iPhone giant unveiled its new streaming service that will compete directly with his company’s rival offering.

Apple revealed the departure of Iger, who had sat on the board for eight years, in a terse one-line stock market statement late on Friday. He stepped down on September 10, the day of Apple’s big announcement at its California headquarters.

Disney boss: Bob Iger

The unveiling had been long-awaited, but it surprised Wall Street with the low price: $4.99 (£3.99) a month. The strategy was seen as a shot across the bows of Netflix, the world’s biggest streaming provider, but also a warning for Disney, which will launch its own package at $7 a month…

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Google Pixel 4 camera may out-magic iPhone 11 Pro

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The Google Camera 7.0 leak we’re looking at today suggests that the Google Pixel 4 will have several new features from the get-go. This newest leak suggests that the features we’ve just seen revealed for the iPhone 11 Pro may give Apple a run for its money. These features for Pixel 4 include – but are not limited to – Live HDR, mesh warping (for selfie distortions), Night Sight improvements, Motion Blur, Zero Shutter Lag, Dynamic Depth Format, Playground AR Sticker integration, Measure Mode (AR), Rewind Mode, Audio Zoom, and of course new Google Lens abilities.

All the new stuff from Google

The features appearing today come from a code teardown from the folks at XDA Developers. They’ve gone in-depth with the various bits and pieces to find what’s possible with the next generation of Google Pixel device via the latest leaked version of the official Google camera app. In this app teardown they’ve found the following features for Google Pixel 4 specifically.

Google Pixel 4 camera features:
• Audio Zoom
• Saving depth data with Dynamic Depth Format DDF from Android 10
• HDRNet tech
• Google Lens expansion – more suggestions for potential document scanning by the app for the user
• Longer exposure times with Night Sight
• Telephoto lens support

Potential multiple-Pixel features:
• Motion Blur
• Refocus (after capture, multiple focuses captured with one snap)
• Rewind (“McFly Module”
• Measure Mode (AR measuring feature)
• Photobooth with Playground AR Stickers
• Live HDR and HDRNet
• Astrophotography (stars!)

While some features will likely be limited to the new dual-camera setup with the Google Pixel 4, it’s possible the next Google Camera (7.0) app will bring “new” features to the rest of the range. Or at least the Pixel 3 and 3XL.

The Slofie

The iPhone 11 Pro can capture a “slofie.” That’s a slow-motion video captured with the device’s front-facing camera. That’s literally all it is. As Apple suggests, “the new 12MP TrueDepth camera lets you take superfun slow-motion selfie videos at 120 fps, or shoot in 4K at 60 fps.”

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Matching powers

Apple announced this week that the iPhone 11 Pro would have Audio Zoom “to match audio with video framing” – much like we’re now expecting will appear on Google Pixel 4. With three cameras, we’re expecting that the iPhone 11 Pro’s ability to get wide and ultra wide angles are at least as impressive as the wideness of the angles that’ll be available with the Google Pixel 4 – but we’ll need to see some spec sheets to be sure there.

SEE OUR: iPhone 11 Pro MAX hands-on

Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro is apparently able to capture some of the most impressive low-light photos ever captured by an iPhone. Apple suggests that its A13 Bionic chip will allow “low light-shots never before possible on an iPhone.” Both Google Pixel and the iPhone series have previously had “Portrait Mode” functions before – they’ll both quite likely be improved somewhat with this generation.

Both devices have HDR powers. They’re both able to see the light with their sensors and decide which colors should be emphasized and which should be pulled back. We’ll only know which is more impressive once we get both in our hands at one time.

Apple’s “manual controls”

One thing Apple might out-do the Google Pixel 4 on here is the inclusion of “manual controls” with the newest set of iPhones. Apple suggests that “you can also experiment with manual controls to dial in even more detail and less noise.” We’ll soon see whether it’s Google or Apple that trusts their users to utilize manual controls more!

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iPhone 11 Pro vs. Galaxy Note 10

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James Martin/CNET

Of the three new iPhones Apple announced Tuesday, two of them — the iPhone 11 Pro (starting at $999) and the iPhone 11 Pro Max (starting at $1,099) — break the $1,000 price threshold that Apple itself helped create when it introduced the iPhone X in 2017. Since then, the $1,000 superphone has become the norm for 4G devices, with premium 5G phones like the $1,300 Galaxy S10 5G and Note 10 Plus 5G reaching even higher costs. But what you get for your money doesn’t always line up the same, especially when you compare two phones with the same price.

In the case of the iPhone 11 Pro, its greatest competition are two Samsung phones: the recently launched Galaxy Note 10 ($949) and March’s Galaxy S10 Plus ($1,000). To staunch iPhone fans, these Samsung devices will hardly matter. Rather, their question will come down to which iPhone 11 model to buy. But if you’re asking which high-end phone gives you the best value for money, the trade-offs are interesting and instructive.


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iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max are packed with camera features

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Keep in mind that we won’t know which phone is “best” until after testing the iPhone 11 Pro and Note 10 or S10 Plus side-by-side. But we do have a pretty good idea how they’ll compete.

If you’re looking for the absolute cheapest premium phone, the regular iPhone 11 (which updates the iPhone XR) starts at $699, and the Galaxy S10E starts at $750. (If you want to get real low, here are the best phones we’ve tried for under $500.)

Galaxy S10 Plus has the largest OLED screen

For a long time, a bigger screen meant a better screen, but that’s an unfair summation now. If you prefer a smaller display, the iPhone 11 Pro’s 5.8-inch screen still gives you plenty of room to run, without the bulk of a bigger phone.

For pixel density, the Galaxy S10 Plus takes the crown, with 522 pixels per inch versus the iPhone 11 Pro’s 458 ppi and the Note 10’s 401 ppi. That said, these differences are usually negligible to the naked eye. What matters most is how brilliant the clarity, how crisp the detail and how legible the words are in bright light.

Color tone is also intangible — some screens look more yellow, and others a harsher blue. We’ll need to compare them side by side in a variety of lighting scenarios to know for sure. For now, let’s call it a draw.

Screen size and resolution

iPhone 11 ProSamsung Galaxy Note 10Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus
Display size, resolution5.8-inch OLED Super Retina XDR; 2,436×1,125 pixels6.3-inch AMOLED; 2,280×1,080 pixels6.4-inch AMOLED; 3,040×1,440-pixels
Pixel density458 ppi401 ppi522 ppi

iPhone 11 Pro’s triple camera holds a lot of promise

In an Apple first both the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max get a third camera on the back, a 13-megapixel ultra-wide angle lens to go along with the main camera sensor and telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom.


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Hands-on with the iPhone 11’s ultra-wide-angle camera

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Both Galaxy phones have this too, plus the ability to seamlessly switch among all three lenses. It’s the image quality we’re unsure about. In our previous photo tests, the Galaxy S10 Plus and iPhone XS each have an advantage, depending on the scene. But the iPhone 11 Pro has new sensors that could change the way that it processes pictures.

We’ll also compare the phones’ dedicated night mode, which Apple glossed over without sharing much about. The S10 Plus and Note use the exact same software and camera lenses.

Front and rear cameras

iPhone 11 ProSamsung Galaxy Note 10Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus
Camera12-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 12-megapixel (telephoto)12-megapixel (wide-angle), 16-megapixel (ultra-wide angle), 12-megapixel (telephoto)12-megapixel (wide-angle), 16-megapixel (ultra wide-angle), 12-megapixel (telephoto)
Front-facing camera12-megapixel with Face ID10-megapixel10-megapixel, 8-megapixel

Yet there are ways that the iPhone 11 Pro might stand out. Deep Fusion is a new Apple camera feature we’ll see in the future that promises to combine nine photos to make a single composition with greater detail and reduced image noise. Apple also will let you start recording video while you’re taking stills, which is the first time we’ve seen this feature on any phone.

Selfies get way more attention, too, with a wide-angle view (the Galaxy phones have this, as well), slow-mo selfies and better 4K video recording. There’s a jump up from 7 to 12 megapixels as well. While these “slofies” are drawing internet fire, this is a feature I could see Samsung and other rivals adding to their phone within a year.


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iPhone XS Max vs. Galaxy S10 Plus: The cameras battle…

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Processing power is up in the air

Apple’s chipset is always a little inscrutable. The company compares speed and efficiency compared to the previous models, but it’s tough to weigh one processor — in this case the A13 Bionic chip — with another completely different chipset, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 used in the Galaxy S10 Plus and Galaxy Note 10.

Based on the iPhone’s 11’s video and photography promises (e.g., 4K video at 60fps, slow-mo selfies and the kind of computational photography you need to process night mode photos) we can guess its chip will be a beast. But so is the Snapdragon 855.

Once again, we’ll have to test everything from gaming silkiness and hard graphics rendering to photo processing speeds and even completing everyday tasks.

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Apple’s ambitious photo tools will take power and speed.


James Martin/CNET

iPhone battery life could give Samsung the chase

Apple has told us just that the iPhone 11’s, Pro’s and Max’s batteries will last up to an hour, four hours and five hours longer than last year’s counterpart phones, respectively. That’s… not very descriptive, considering that everyone uses their phones differently.

Apple doesn’t share battery capacities the way every other manufacturer does, but CNET runs internal tests to establish a baseline we can use to compare phones. We start at 100% and loop a video in airplane mode (with volume and screen brightness at 50%) until it turns off.

Battery life projection

iPhone 11 Pro (projection based on CNET’s iPhone XS battery drain test)Samsung Galaxy Note 10Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus
Battery live on video loop test17 hours, 17 minutes16 hours (tests continue)21 hours
Battery capacityUnknown3,500 mAh4,100 mAh

We’re still testing the Galaxy Note 10, but so far the phone has an average of 16 hours run time. If that average holds and the iPhone 11 Pro’s battery life lives up to Apple’s claim, it could surpass Samsung’s $950 phone.

Samsung’s storage is way cheaper than iPhone

Apple doesn’t offer expandable storage and Samsung usually does (though the Note 10 is one exception). Apple also starts off the iPhone 11 Pro at 64GB of on-board storage compared to 256GB with the Galaxy Note 10 and 128GB for the cheapest Galaxy S10 Plus configuration.

Compared to the iPhone 11 Pro, Samsung gives you double the storage to buy the base model Galaxy S10 Plus (which also supports a 512GB external storage card), and quadruple the ROM if you buy the Note 10 (again, not to be confused with the $1,099 Note 10 Plus).

You’ll pay $1,149 to jump up to 256GB of storage on the iPhone 11 Pro, which is a $200 surcharge over the Note 10 for the same capacity.

galaxy-note-10-1galaxy-note-10-1

The Note 10 costs $50 less than the iPhone 11 Pro, but has quadruple the storage.


Juan Garzon/CNET

Security and software updates: iPhone 11 has the edge

Apple has always had the advantage here, since it can push software and security updates to all its supported phones at the same time. For example, iOS 13 will come to eligible iPhones on Sept. 19.

Meanwhile, most phone-makers take time to get the latest version of Android in line with their proprietary software skins. For example, Google’s Pixel phones are the only ones to sport Android 10 right now. Samsung and others do routinely upgrade their phones with patches, but major OS updates take longer to sync up.

galaxy-galaxy-fold-51galaxy-galaxy-fold-51

These Samsung phones can wirelessly charge other devices.


Angela Lang/CNET

Extras to push you over the edge

dark-mode-androiddark-mode-android

System-wide dark mode is coming to Android phones and iPhones.


Jason Cipriani/CNET

All have:

  • Water-resistant coatings
  • Fast wired charging
  • Wireless charging

iPhone 11 Pro has:

  • Face ID unlocking

Note 10 has:

  • Reverse wireless charging, which lets you charge wireless accessories and other phones on the back of the device
  • S Pen stylus, a Samsung power feature unique to the Note line

S10 Plus has:

  • A dedicated headphone jack
  • Expanded storage support

When we’ll have a winner

First we’ll need to review the iPhone 11 Pro, then we’ll need to run some deep comparison tests with the Galaxy S10 Plus and Note 10, starting with the camera.

We’ll get to those as soon as we can. In the meantime, here are the five iPhone 11 camera features we’re looking forward to most and here’s the full spec comparison among all the new iPhone 11 models.

Originally published earlier this week.

iPhone 11 Pro vs Note 10 vs S10 Plus

iPhone 11 ProSamsung Galaxy Note 10Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus
Display size, resolution5.8-inch OLED Super Retina XDR; 2,436×1,125 pixels6.3-inch AMOLED; 2,280×1,080 pixels6.4-inch AMOLED; 3,040×1,440-pixels
Pixel density458 ppi401 ppi522 ppi
Dimensions (Inches)5.67×2.81×0.32 in5.94×2.83×0.31 in6.20×2.92×0.31 in
Dimensions (Millimeters)144×71.4×8.1 mm151×71.8×7.9 mm157.6×74.1×7.8 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams)6.63 oz; 188 g5.93 oz; 168 g6.17 oz.; 175 g
Mobile softwareiOS 13Android 9.0 PieAndroid 9.0 with Samsung One UI
Camera12-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 12-megapixel (telephoto)12-megapixel (wide-angle), 16-megapixel (ultra-wide angle), 12-megapixel (telephoto)12-megapixel (wide-angle), 16-megapixel (ultra wide-angle), 12-megapixel (telephoto)
Front-facing camera12-megapixel with Face ID10-megapixel10-megapixel, 8-megapixel
Video capture4K4K4K
ProcessorApple A13 BionicQualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, or Samsung Exynos 9825Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Storage64GB, 256GB, 512GB256GB128GB, 512GB, 1TB
RAMNot disclosed8GB8GB, 12GB
Expandable storageNoneNoUp to 512GB
BatteryNot disclosed, but Apple claims it will last up to 4 hours longer than iPhone XS3,500 mAh4,100 mAh
Fingerprint sensorNone (Face ID)In-screenIn-screen (ultrasonic)
ConnectorLightningUSB-CUSB-C
Headphone jackNoNoYes
Special featuresWater resistant (IP68); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wireless chargingS Pen stylus; Wireless PowerShare; hole punch screen notch; water resistant (IP68)Wireless PowerShare; hole punch screen notch; water resistant (IP68); Fast Wireless Charging 2.0
Price off-contract (USD)$999 (64GB), $1,149 (256GB), $1,349 (512GB)$949$1000 (128GB), $1,249 (512GB), $1,599 (1TB)
Price (GBP)£1,049 (64GB), £1,199 (256GB), £1,399 (512GB)£899£899 (128GB)
Price (AUD)AU$1,749 (64GB), AU$1,999 (256GB), AU$2,349 (512GB)AU$1,499AU$1,499 (128GB)

Apple iPhone XS

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