Issued on: 11/10/2020 – 03:38Modified: 11/10/2020 – 03:36
San Francisco (AFP)
Apple is expected on Tuesday to unveil a keenly anticipated iPhone 12 line-up starring models tuned to super-fast new 5G telecom networks in an update considered vital to the company’s fortunes.
A streamed event was cryptically teased with the message “Hi, Speed” in an apparent reference to the faster wireless networks being introduced in many parts of the world.
Analysts expect Apple to introduce a selection of iPhone 12 models in multiple sizes, with some shipping earlier than others due to the toll the pandemic has taken on the company’s supply chain.
“We believe iPhone 12 represents the most significant product cycle for Cook & Co. since iPhone 6 in 2014 and will be another defining chapter in the Apple growth story,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said in a note to investors, referring to chief executive Tim Cook.
The time is ripe, analysts said, for Apple to hit the market with an iPhone tailored to the super-fast 5G telecom networks taking root around the world.
“Apple absolutely needs 5G right now,” said Techsponential analyst Avi Greengart, “not for the US, but for China, where 5G is driving purchase decisions.”
Some Apple rivals have already produced 5G models, and China is far ahead of the US when it comes to the new-generation networks.
5G networks are touted as promising an exponential leap in the amount and speed of wireless data, enabling advances in self-driving vehicles, virtual reality, connected health and more as sensors and servers communicate instantly.
“5G is happening in China with or without Apple; in fact, more 5G phones than non-5G phones are selling in China,” said analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy.
New-generation 5G networks have also taken shape in South Korea and in parts of Europe.
Meanwhile, US telecom firms are looking at a 5G iPhone as a catalyst for consumer interest that will justify the big investments needed for those networks, according to analysts.
“US carriers are waiting for Apple to announce a 5G iPhone to put the pedal to the metal in the US,” said Moorhead.
– Powering the ‘ecosystem’ –
Apple also needs a 5G-capable iPhone to maintain its premium image, analysts added.
Powerhouses Samsung and Huawei already have 5G smartphones on the market.
Google recently unveiled two new smartphones with 5G wireless capability under its Pixel brand, which showcases the Android mobile system but has limited market share.
“Apple got away with not releasing a 5G device last year because the 5G use-cases and network coverage simply wasn’t there,” said Futuresource Consulting research analyst Stephen Mears.
“Apple won’t want to be perceived as being two generations behind on 5G handsets.”
The streamed event comes a month after Apple unveiled new service bundles and smartwatch models tied to the iPhone, which remains at the heart of its money-making ecosystem.
Adding 5G iPhones to its line-up should help Apple “drive forward” with that lucrative blend of hardware, software, services and digital content, Mears said. From the health-centric Apple Watch to subscriptions to music and television services, the iPhone is at the center of the user experience.
Apple remains the most expensive company on Wall Street, where it ended the formal trading session Friday with a value of $2.03 billion, based on its share price.
– Pandemic slows sales –
Rumors swirling ahead of the event include that Apple will unveil new iPhones in an array of sizes, from a small model with a 5.4-inch (13.7-centimeter) screen to one with a 6.7-inch screen, measured diagonally.
Overall, it has been a tough year for the smartphone industry, with the pandemic disrupting economies and supply chains.
“Recovery will be slow, with tough market conditions expected to continue through 2021,” Mears said.
Total smartphone sales were down 16 percent in the second quarter, according to research firm IDC.
Its survey showed Huawei leading the market, ahead of Samsung, Apple and Chinese firms Xiaomi and Oppo.
© 2020 AFP
Why the iPhone 12 Pro is worth the upgrade cost – AppleInsider
Putting the iPhone 12 Pro through its paces in the real world really shows why it’s worth the extra cost over an iPhone 12.
It’s more than surface deep
The new iPhone 12 Pro of course offers more features than its predecessors, but before you even notice any of those, you immediately see — and feel — how it has all been physically redesigned. As with all the iPhone 12 range, it has the iPad Pro-style flat edges, and they make it remarkably appealing to hold.
Then with the iPhone 12 Pro, Apple retained the stainless steel frame but has four new colors. What’s been less well reported, though, is that even the colors that we thought we’d seen before, such as silver and gold, have a subtly different — and better — look.
For instance, the silver version, which has the white glass back, is now lighter than before. The gold has a new finish to make the color more substantial around the edge, and this also makes it more resistant to fingerprints. Unfortunately, the darker colors remain fingerprint magnets.
Whereas Pacific Blue is entirely new. It replaces last year’s green and, at least anecdotally, appears to be a particularly popular option. There’s a slight slate-color tint to the blue on the iPhone 12 Pro, and it’s gorgeous enough that you will keep staring at it until you put the phone in a case.
To go with these brand new colors, and improved existing ones, are new exclusive wallpapers. Apple has created four new live wallpapers for the iPhone 12 Pro line that match the phone colors, and move. Hold your finger on the lock screen and these images animate as if they have lens flares.
Massive camera updates
You can point to the finer color and, actually, to the brighter screen, to say there are variations between the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro, but the real differences are in the new photo and video capabilities on the new iPhone 12 Pro.
Most of the best new features are relegated to the iPhone 12 Pro Max, though. That has yet to be released, but in the meantime, iPhone 12 Pro has some key new features of note.
Such as the addition of Dolby Vision recording at 60 frames per second, as opposed to the 30fps of the iPhone 12. The inclusion of Dolby Vision at all is a feat, and it means that these two smartphones are the first in the world on which you can shoot, edit, and share 4K Dolby Vision HDR.
However, if you are going to benefit from Dolby Vision, it feels wrong to hamper yourself with the 30fps version. The iPhone 12 Pro’s 60fps is certainly better, and makes greater use of the potential of Dolby Vision recording.
What’s more, in real-world use, it is as easy as you’d want and expect it to be.
When you come to play or edit it, you can immediately tell that footage was shot in Dolby Vision because it is marked with an HDR watermark in the top-left corner of the video app. Similarly, if you edit in the Photos app, you’ll see the display get brighter as it starts to display this footage.
It all looks very good when played on an HDR-capable display, but can be toggled off if you don’t wish to capture it and take up all the storage space it requires.
Another frankly amazing feature we explored was night mode portraits on the iPhone 12 Pro. This night mode feature came with the iPhone 11 line, and it already allowed you take long-exposure shots in very low light situations. With iPhone 12 Pro, though, that same functionality comes to portrait shots.
When you switch to portrait mode in the Camera app and go to take a pic in a very low-light environment, you will see the night mode icon in the lower-left corner where the 1X and 2X indicators are.
You can’t zoom in and keep this portrait effect, you have to take the shot at 1X. Explain to your subject that you have to step closer. That’s because for this type of shot it needs the new faster aperture of the wide-angle camera rather than that on the 2X tele lens.
For the iPhone 12 Pro, Apple increased the aperture from f/1.8 to f/1.6 which allows more light in and allows the shutter to fire faster. The new LiDAR scanner is also used because it allows the camera to focus in near pitch-black environments.
We will have a more comprehensive comparison soon, but we did take a quick set of example shots using portrait mode on our iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro. The iPhone 11 Pro wasn’t able to enable portrait mode at all so it just captured a normal image.
Naturally, that image came out very, very dark and completely unusable. On the other hand, iPhone 12 Pro captured a very impressive image in almost no light.
Aside from night mode coming to all cameras — notably including the front-facing True Depth or selfie one — Apple has improved the ultra-wide lens. There’s also a new lens correction that’s applied in order to deal with the quite excessive distortion that could be present before. Once more, see our sample shot took on iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro to see how much of a difference this has made.
As important and visibly improved as the new lens and camera systems are, it’s this combination of corrections and software control that make the iPhone 12 Pro such a good buy for photographers. That’s only going to become even truer, too, when the promised Apple ProRAW format comes out.
We’ll know for sure when it’s released and we can test it in the real world. However, Apple ProRAW is claimed to take all of the advantages of shooting RAW, of using uncompressed images, and applying Apple’s computational photography algorithms to get the very finest results possible.
Powering all of these new features is Apple’s latest A14 Bionic processor. Last year, the A13 Bionic processor on the iPhone 11 Pro scored 1334 and 3543 on the single-core and multi-core tests. This year, the iPhone 12 Pro pulled a 1598 and a 4180.
That represents about a 20 percent improvement on the single-core score and about 15 percent gain on the multi-core. These are the kinds of improvements that don’t just sound good on paper, you can actually appreciate them in real use.
That’s going to apply to everything you do on the phone as most tasks are single-core, so this iPhone 12 Pro feels more snappy in daily use. But it’s particularly noticeable in video and photo editing, which is faster even when you’re dealing with 4K 60FPS content.
Most of these internal differences are also in the iPhone 12, but Apple has given the iPhone 12 Pro an extra 2GB of RAM, bringing it to 6GB. This directly aids with specific tasks like loading apps from the background, many Safari tabs, and more. Storage was doubled too, going from 64Gb on the base model to 128GB at the same price point.
Of course, 5G is also an internal upgrade, supporting both sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G here in the US, and sub-6GHz elsewhere.
In terms of what it means for the iPhone 12 Pro, though, MagSafe is poised to be a massive new feature. You’re going to see a huge increase in the iPhone ecosystem between cases, chargers, mounts, wallets, cases, folios, PopSockets, and more, which are all on their way.
Right now, our real world tests with the iPhone 12 Pro have been using Apple’s own cases, and its own MagSafe charger.
Even based on these, though, MagSafe is a hit. The convenience of the longer lead that means you can pick up the phone without disconnecting it from the charge is a boon.
And the magnets really do instantly center the iPhone 12 Pro on the right spot to make sure it gets charged properly.
Look to the future
That’s the thing about an Apple device. You can review it as it’s launched, and you can properly test it out in the real world, but then it changes.
We’re going to see the addition of more MagSafe devices — such as Apple’s own forthcoming device that charges both the iPhone 12 Pro and the Apple Watch — and we’re going to see Apple ProRAW soon.
Right now, the iPhone 12 Pro is an exceptional phone. It’s going to be interesting to see just how significant the extra camera improvements are in the iPhone 12 Pro Max. But regardless of that, this iPhone 12 Pro is a good buy that is going to keep on getting better.
Facebook launches free-to-play cloud gaming feature – MobileSyrup
Facebook has launched a free-to-play cloud gaming feature that lets users stream and play games without downloading them.
Some of the games users can play include Asphalt 9: Legends and WWE SuperCard. The social media giant emphasizes that it’s not spinning off a separate cloud gaming service.
“All cloud-streamed games are playable in the same way you play games now on Facebook, whether it’s in our Gaming tab or from News Feed,” Facebook outlined in a blog post.
Facebook notes that no special hardware or controllers are needed, and that your hands are the controllers since it’s launching with native mobile games. You can also play the games with a mouse and keyboard on desktop.
“More than 380 million people play games each month on Facebook, and people will play cloud-streamed games right alongside those playing instant games in HTML5,” Facebook states.
The games are launching in beta on Android and Web, but won’t be available on iOS “for now.” The first set of games include Asphalt 9: Legends, WWE SuperCard, Mobile Legends: Adventure, PGA TOUR Golf Shootout and Solitaire: Arthur’s Tale.
Facebook says that in the coming weeks it’ll add Dirt Bike Unchained, and will continue to expand the games library.
Further, the social media giant notes that it’s “introducing player names and gaming-themed avatars for players to represent themselves in game instead of using their full name and profile picture.”
Facebook has also redesigned its gaming tab to include updated discovery and re-engagement features to help players find new games to try and get back into the ones they used to love.
Image credit: Facebook
Apple support article says MagSafe Charger can leave circular imprint on leather cases – MobileSyrup
The document specifically mentions Apple’s own leather cases but states the issue could occur with third-party cases too.
Other interesting information pulled from the support document includes that the new MagSafe charger doesn’t need a 20W USB-C adapter. It requires a minimum of at least 12W but won’t charge the device as fast. To be clear, even when you’re using a 20W adapter, the MagSafe charger is still only delivering 15W to the iPhone 12 since inductive charging is less powerful.
Apple also says to remove credit cards, passports and any item with a magnetic strip or RFID chip in it before attaching the MagSafe charger to the rear of the iPhone 12. The charger can also limit the charging to 80 percent if the battery ends up getting too warm during the charging process. As expected, you also can’t charge wirelessly and when connected to a power adapter at the same time.
You can find the full support document at this link.
Apple’s iPhone 12 series and all future iPhones no longer include EarPods or a charging brick in the box. While MagSafe is an interesting, surprisingly solid solution to some of Qi wireless charging’s most significant issues, including properly aligning a device on a charging pad, the accessory costs $55 in Canada.
On top of that cost, most people will also likely need to buy a $25 20W USB-C Power adapter given the cable that comes with the MagSafe charger is USB-C.
Though the case is plastic, I’ve been using a MagSafe charger with the iPhone 12 Pro and a super-thin Totallee case for the last week and haven’t noticed any marks on its rear.
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