The $250 device sits inside the home in a cradle, and will launch itself if triggered by a paired Ring alarm. Ring alarms are supposed to respond to a wide range of emergencies such as break-ins and fires. The drone will then fly around according to a preset pathway, and stream live footage of what’s happening to the user’s phone.
Imagery and footage of the drone launching itself from its base triggered some blowback online, both serious and tongue-in-cheek.
“The spy drone for your house run by megacorp is 100% from Black Mirror and also wasn’t supposed to be a fun product idea,” wrote one user.
The Internet of Shit Twitter account, which pokes fun at seemingly pointless connected devices, wrote: “An internet connected drone camera for your home, owned by Amazon. this definitely won’t be a privacy nightmare *at all*.”
And security expert and programmer Patricia Aas wrote simply: “Wtf is wrong with this industry?”
UK-based privacy advocacy group Big Brother Watch described the drone as “arguably Amazon’s most chilling surveillance product yet.”
“It’s difficult to imagine why Amazon thinks anyone wants flying internet cameras linked up to a data-gathering company in the privacy of their own home,” said director Silkie Carlo in a statement. “It’s important to acknowledge the influence that Amazon’s product development is having on communities and the growing surveillance market.”
Amazon tried to allay privacy concerns about the drone following users round their houses by saying it was deliberately designed to be noisy so you can hear it coming — although it is only supposed to take off when its owner is out.
“Designed with privacy in mind, the motors even hum when in flight — it’s privacy you can hear,” Ring says on its website.
And as unnerving as an autonomous home camera drone undoubtedly is, another product unveiled on Thursday may be more troubling.
The new version of Amazon’s smart display screen, the Echo Show, can automatically swivel to follow its owners as they move around.
Ben Wood, analyst at CCS Insight, said while the drone was “likely to be a magnet for privacy concerns”, it was better than devices like the Echo Show “which have a front-facing camera that is always exposed.”
Amazon’s current smart home devices also have the potential to snoop on unsuspecting users.
In 2019 Amazon and other big tech firms were found admitted to sending snippets of audio captured by smart assistants like Alexa back to human moderators for review.
As reported by Bloomberg, the Alexa recordings included sensitive and intimate moments. The discovery sparked outrage from consumers who didn’t know their private conversations could end up in the hands of human reviewers.
It’s also possible that worries about intrusive surveillance will be less of a concern for the Always Home Cam than the drone haplessly flying into things.
“Along with the usual privacy concerns, Amazon will also have to reassure users that the Always Home Cam won’t bump into things or people,” added CCS Insight’s Ben Wood. “The way you set it up, and the assumption that it will only operate when occupants are not in the home, will go a long way to address these concerns, but it will only be possible to really understand the device fully once you’ve had a chance to use it.”
One thing is abundantly clear about Apple’s iPhone 12 line: the standard iPhone 12 is the device most Apple users should consider purchasing if they’re in the market for a new iPhone.
While this was also the case with last year’s iPhone 11, the upgrades Apple has made to the smartphone, including the iPhone 12’s new 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display, 5G capabilities, its A14 processor and more, amount to an impressive smartphone package.
Except for the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max’s telephoto lens, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensor and a few other minor technical differences, the iPhone 12 offers a smartphone experience nearly identical to the iPhone 12 Pro’s.
As expected, these upgrades also come at a price increase, with last year’s iPhone 11 costing $849 and the iPhone 12 bumping the price up to $1,129. A $280 difference is a pretty substantial price change any way you look at it, though the inclusion of an OLED display helps soften that blow.
“With all that in mind, it’s clear the iPhone 12 is likely the device most Apple users should be interested in”
Just like with the iPhone 12 Pro, several questions remain about the iPhone 12 series. For instance, the 5.4-inch iPhone mini isn’t yet available, and neither is the highest-end iPhone Apple has to offer this year, the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Both devices are set to launch together in early November. It’s also unclear if Apple’s MagSafe accessories will live up to the tech giant’s loft claims and solve some of Qi wireless charging’s main issues.
With all that in mind, it’s clear the iPhone 12 is likely the device most Apple users should be interested in.
Stainless steel vs. aluminum
I’m shocked to be writing this, but I actually prefer the look of the iPhone 12 over the iPhone 12 Pro.
The smartphone features the same flat-edged iPad Air and iPhone 4-inspired design as the iPhone 12 Pro, but its matte aluminum edges get far less greasy than the stainless steel border featured in its higher-end counterpart. This gives the device a cleaner look when it isn’t inside a case and makes the smartphone feel better when you’re holding it in your hand.
Like the iPhone 12 Pro, the iPhone 12 features a ‘Ceramic Shield’ front the tech giant claims is more durable than previous iPhones. It’s impossible to verify this statement, but given how shockingly hardy the iPhone 11 was, I tend to believe Apple.
The smartphone itself is roughly 15 percent smaller than the iPhone 11, but it still features a 6.1-inch display thanks to its reduced bezels. This makes the device easier to hold in one hand than its predecessor.
Colour-wise, I prefer the hues Apple offered last year with the iPhone 11, but the new green colour Apple sent me to review looks stunning. It’s light green and features an intensity not present in the iPhone 11’s colours. The iPhone 12 is available in the following colours: ‘Black,’ ‘White,’ ‘Product Red,’ ‘Green,’ and ‘Blue.’
Each colour and the still-grease-resistant back glass also match the iPhone 12’s overall hue, giving it a uniform look.
“I prefer the hues Apple offered last year with the iPhone 11, but the new green colour Apple sent me to review looks stunning”
It’s worth noting the squared-off design might take some long-time iPhone users a little getting used to and, for a select few, might even feel like a step backwards.
While I initially counted myself in this camp, the design quickly grew on me. It looks and feels great and is a solid step forward for Apple’s iPhone line in terms of aesthetics.
Say hello to OLED
What’s most interesting about this year’s iPhone lineup is the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are nearly identical in several ways.
For example, the iPhone 12 features a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display that comes in at 2,532 x 1,170 pixels and 460ppi, just like the iPhone 12 Pro. The screen also supports ‘True Tone,’ HDR capabilities, features a P3 wide colour gamut, and includes the same 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio as the more expensive iPhone 12 Pro.
The only difference is the iPhone 12 Pro’s standard max brightness measures in at 800 nits compared to the iPhone 12’s 625 nits. This change isn’t noticeable at all, and in general, the iPhone 12’s display looks stunning and a significant step above last year’s solid but rapidly ageing Liquid Retina LCD screen that came in at a 1,792 x 828 pixel resolution. Video content with apps like Netflix and YouTube, as well as games and even just browsing the internet, all look great.
“My experience with the iPhone 12 has been extremely smooth over the last few days and I haven’t encountered a single instance of lag”
Like last year, the iPhone 12 features the same chip as its more expensive counterpart, the new A14 Bionic processor. Though I don’t put much stock into benchmarks because they don’t speak to how a phone operates in the real world, the iPhone comes in at 1,596 for its single-core score and 4,025 for its multi-core score with Geekbench, which is a substantial increase over the A13-equipped iPhone 11 coming in at 1,326 and the 3,397. My experience with the iPhone 12 has been extremely smooth over the last few days and I haven’t encountered a single instance of lag.
The other difference worth noting about the iPhone 12 is it weighs 162g compared to the iPhone 12 Pro’s 187g. Just like last year, storage options include 64GB, 128GB and 256GB.
Regarding battery life, I found the iPhone 12 comes in at roughly a day with moderate use, which is similar to my experience with the iPhone 12 Pro.
Similar to the iPhone 12 Pro, the most significant changes to the iPhone 12 relate to the smartphone’s camera performance.
First off, the array is very similar to the iPhone 12 Pro’s, including a wide f/1.6 lens and an ultrawide f/2.4 aperture. However, the iPhone 12 doesn’t feature the iPhone 12 Pro’s telephoto lens, which means it isn’t capable of 2x optical zoom.
The iPhone 12’s camera is on the left and the iPhone 12 Pro’s is on the right. While the images are nearly identical, the iPhone 12 Pro features slightly more contrast.
The iPhone 11’s wide shooter is on the left side, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s wide camera is on the right. The images above shot with the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are slight improvements over the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro Max.
I’d argue a wide-angle lens is likely more useful for taking group shots and capturing landscapes, but it really depends on the type of photography you do with your smartphone. For example, I value 2x zoom over wide-angle photography because I often find myself shooting landscapes and not large groups of people.
While the ultrawide lens measures in at the same f/2.4 aperture, the wide lens comes in at f/1.6 and now has seven elements, which allows more light into the sensor, resulting in overall brighter, less noisy images, especially when under low-light.
The iPhone 12 wide camera is on the left side, and the iPhone 12 Pro’s wide camera is right. Though the pictures are very similar, the photo shot with the iPhone 12 Pro features slightly more contrast and overall better tones.
It’s also worth noting the iPhone 12 doesn’t support Apple’s new ProRAW image format that’s launching later this year because it lacks the iPhone 12 Pro’s LiDAR sensor.
While not a significant hit to camera quality, this means the iPhone 12 doesn’t benefit from the same quicker focusing and improved low-light performance as the iPhone 12 Pro. However, it does still feature Apple’s new Smart HDR 3 technology coupled with Deep Fusion, Night mode and of course, Portrait Mode.
The iPhone 12’s selfie shooter is on the left with night mode turned on, and the iPhone 12 Pro’s selfie shooter is on the right with night mode turned on. Night mode selfies are generally pretty blurry and give skin a very plastic tone.
The iPhone 12 features the same new night mode selfie shots with the smartphone’s front-facing 12-megapixel camera, but they’re a little darker and pretty noisy. I don’t find this new feature very useful and feel it gives skin a weird, over-detailed, almost plastic tone. The device’s ultrawide camera also now works in night mode and produces images nearly identical to the iPhone 12 Pro’s that feature sightly more noise and less contrast.
The iPhone 12 ultrawide image is on the left, and the iPhone 12 ultrawide shot is on the right. Though the images are very similar, the iPhone 12 photo features slightly more vibrant colours and more contrast.
Photos generally look better than those shot with the iPhone 11. However, they’re slightly noisier, a little less sharp and don’t feature as much contrast as what the iPhone 12 Pro can shoot. Overall, the difference is surprisingly marginal.
Further, instead of dual optical image stabilization, the iPhone 12 features optical image stabilization. In my tests, I didn’t find this really made much of a difference when snapping photos, even when using the smartphone’s night mode.
Finally, the iPhone 12 also features 10-bit Dolby Vision HDR video recording — a first for any smartphone — that can only be viewed on supported televisions and monitors.
That said, even YouTube doesn’t support the format. The iPhone 12 only includes HDR 4K Dolby Vision video at 30fps compared to the iPhone 12 Pro’s 60fps.
Unlike in previous years, the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro offer a very similar smartphone experience, and because of this, there are several aspects of the device this review doesn’t touch on.
If you’re interested in learning more about what it’s like to use an iPhone 12 with 5G in Canada and Apple’s MagSafe accessories, follow this link to my iPhone 12 Pro review.
Other things worth noting are that the iPhone 12 features Face ID that seems just as reliable as last year, with authentication working roughly 95 percent of the time.
Most people won’t need an iPhone 12 Pro
The main takeaway from my time with the iPhone 12 is that across the board, the average iPhone user likely won’t need the features that the iPhone 12 Pro offers, especially now that the smartphone includes a great-looking and vibrant OLED display. On the other hand, if you’re a smartphone photography enthusiast, the incremental improvements the iPhone 12 Pro offers could be worth the upgrade.
Of course, questions still remain surrounding the iPhone mini and the iPhone 12 Pro, which don’t release until November 13th. Given the mini’s positively minuscule 5.4-inch size display size and lower $979 price tag, some people may want to wait for that device.
Overall, though, the iPhone 12 offers photography and performance capabilities nearly identical to the iPhone 12 Pro’s. That said, its low-light performance isn’t quite as solid because it doesn’t feature a LiDAR sensor.
With all this in mind, the iPhone 12 is one of the most solid smartphone packages the tech giant has released in years.
“The iPhone 12 offers photography and performance capabilities nearly identical to the iPhone 12 Pro’s”
My interest in technology began after I was presented with an Atari 800XL home computer in the mid-1980s. I especially enjoy writing about technological advances, compelling rumors, and intriguing tech-related leaks. I have a degree in International Relations and Strategic Studies and count my family, reading, writing, and travel as the main passions of my life. I have been with Notebookcheck since 2012.
Nokia Bell Labs’ 4G LTE communications technology will help NASA advance its mission to land more people on the moon.
NASA has announced that Nokia will build the first ever cellular network on the moon. The Finnish company was selected as a partner for the space agency’s Tipping Point programme, which funds technologies at the cutting edge of space exploration.
The network will use 4G LTE – the precursor to 5G – technology on the moon’s surface. Nokia said it will transform lunar communications by delivering “reliable, high data rates while containing power, size and cost”.
We’re over the moon to announce further details after being named by @NASA as a key partner to advance “Tipping Point” technologies for the Moon.
Improved communications infrastructure on the moon is an aspect of NASA’s Artemis programme, which aims to land the first woman and the next man on the moon by 2024 and to establish a sustainable presence on its surface by the end of the decade. NASA said that Nokia’s system could “support lunar surface communications at greater distances, increased speeds, and provide more reliability than current standards”.
The LTE tech will be developed by Nokia Bell Labs. Partnering with spaceflight firm Intuitive Machines, the research company will build and deploy an “ultra-compact, low-power, space-hardened, end-to-end solution” on the moon’s surface in late 2022. The system will self-configure after deployment.
Its purpose will be “critical communication capabilities” for transmitting data, Nokia said. This will include command and control functions, remote control of lunar rovers, real-time navigation and streaming high-definition video.
It will also give astronauts wireless connectivity for voice and video communications, biometric data exchange and more, which are vital for “long-term human presence” on the moon.
Nokia CTO and president at Nokia Bell Labs, Marcus Weldon, said the system has been built on the company’s “rich and successful history in space technologies, from pioneering satellite communication to discovering the cosmic microwave background radiation produced by the big bang”.
The technology has been specially designed to withstand the harsh conditions of launch and landing on the moon, Nokia said, and to function in the extreme conditions of space. The company added that it plans to further commercialise its LTE product and investigate how 5G can be applied to space-exploration technologies.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.