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Apple Loop: MacBook Pro’s Hidden Feature, Urgent Apple Pay Warning, Massive iPhone 13 Problems – Forbes

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Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes a huge range of iPhone 13 problems, iPhone 14 details leak, secrets of the iPhone 13, iPad Mini problems, more MacBook Pro power, no more screen for the iPad Air, Apple Apps finally reviewed, and Brazil fines Apple.

Apple Loop is here to remind you of a few of the very many discussions that have happened around Apple over the last seven days (and you can read my weekly digest of Android news here on Forbes).

An Avalanche Of iPhone 13 Problems

With Apple’s new iPhones now on sale, a wide range of issues in both the hardware and software are coming to light as consumers start to use their new smartphones. Many of the issues, especially those in the new iOS 15 software, are impacting existing iPhone owners running older handsets.

“iPhone 13 owners are particularly badly affected, reporting a multitude of problems including camera bugs, failure to wake, unresponsive screens, problems with core apps and borked accessories. But this is just the tip of the iceberg as now iPhone of all ages are being dragged into this dumpster fire.”

(Forbes). To highlight one example, the removal of Siri’s recognition of many voice commands has left those that rely on them (including users who are blind or have limited vision) is having a devastating impact:

“My sister is blind and Siri would respond to voice commands ie, read my text, call Barbara, answer questions regarding weather and most importantly tell my sister who called her. As of today, Siri’s response is “I can’t help with that”. Has the system changed? Is there something on the iPhone that needs to be in abled so Siri will aid my sister with knowing who called her in the past?”

(Apple Foums, via MacRumors).

Apple Pay Warning

 One of the biggest security scares this week was discovered and demonstrated by a number of security researchers in the UK. As part of Apple Pay, it exploits a feature of Visa’s contactless system that could allow an attacker to force the handset to automatically a.uthorise a payment.

“‘Express Transit’ is an Apple Pay feature which enables commuters to make quick contactless payments without unlocking their phone, for example touching-in and touching-out at a London Underground ticket barrier. It is a weakness in how Visa systems work with this feature, that researchers from the Computer Science departments of Birmingham and Surrey Universities, discovered how to attack.”

There is no assumption that this attack has been used in the wild, or would be practical:

“Apple told the BBC: “We take any threat to users’ security very seriously. This is a concern with a Visa system but Visa does not believe this kind of fraud is likely to take place in the real world given the multiple layers of security in place”.”

(BBC News).

Next Year For The Next Generation

Apple’s incremental updates to the iPhone 12 means the new handset feels more like an iPhone 12S rather than an iPhone 13. Many new features were expected – especially those already available on Android competitors – so where are they? Destined for the iPhone 14 family, that’s where. And it’s a family that will address an issue of size:

“Despite a hardcore following, the iPhone 12 Mini sold poorly and the new iPhone 13 Mini is expected to be Apple’s last truly one-handed iPhone. In its place, Kuo says Apple will supersize the range replacing the Mini with a 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Max — a more budget friendly version of the iPhone 14 Pro Max. From a product perspective, iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Max, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max also makes more sense. “

(Forbes).

Secrets Of The iPhone 13 Pro

As is customary, once the handsets went on sale, the team at iFixit were able to get their hands on a retail model to begin their full strip down (and presumably a rebuild_ of the latest technology to find out how repairable it is, what’s going to be awkward, and how much hardware lock-in there is. The iPhone 13 Pro did not disappoint. Independent repair shops have another hurdle to overcome:

“With the display assembly now independent from Face ID hardware, you might be thinking display and Face ID swaps are easier than ever now! Right? Well, pump the brakes, kid. Face ID works even when we disconnected the front sensor assembly. However, any display replacement knocks out Face ID. We tried transferring the sensors from the old display and porting over the Face ID hardware, but no dice. It looks like the display is serial-locked to the phone.”

(IFixit).

iPad Mini Display Issues 

Users have also reported a stuttering ‘jelly’ display on the new iPad Mini 6. iFixit had already started their teardown of the (Apple doesn’t call it a) tablet and could diagnose the problem is part of the Mini’s design and a deliberate choice by Apple.

“When tearing the mini down, iFixit found that the controller board that drives the tablet’s display is oriented vertically. By contrast, the iPad Air’s is oriented horizontally. iFixit suggests that the jelly scrolling effect occurs when the tablet’s orientation doesn’t match the placement of the controller board, because the line-by-line refresh also happens relative to that board’s orientation.”

(Ars Technica).

MacBook Pro Gets More Power… Maybe?

While the geekerati wait for the new MacBook Pro 14 and MacBook Pro 16 to launch during October, hints at some of the additional capabilities have been found in the source code of the latest macOS beta. Apple is coding a ‘turbo boost’ styled High Power Mode for the Mac platform

“Thanks to Apple Silicon, the macOS software has a much closer relationship to the hardware than the Intel-based MacBooks. That would mean more control over the environmental factors to push both the CPU and GPU cores to their limits, with a nod towards increased power consumption and handling the increased thermal output.”

(Forbes).

The iPad Air Loses A Screen

Those hoping for a new OLED display being added to next year’s iPad Air are going to be disappointed. Apple’s deal with Samsung Display has reportedly been cancelled. Apple was looking for a display that offered a longer lifespan, while Samsung Display needed a larger order book to rework a production line

“The tablet was originally slated to launch in 2022 and would have been Cupertino’s first iPad to sport an OLED panel. The project was stopped due to either the single stack structure of OLED panel or profitability issues or both, people familiar with the matter said.. Despite the request, Samsung Display proposed a single stack structure. The display panel maker, the world’s largest OLED panel manufacturer, has so far only commercialized single stack structure.”

(The Elec).

How Do You Like Those Apple App Reviews?

In a move that you would have thought would already have been made, Apple is allowing iPhone owners to rate and review the built-in default apps it supplies with the iPhone and iPad hardware. Right now Apple’s worst performing app is ‘Podcasts’, all the more ironic given this week saw #InternationalPodcastDay:

“No Apple app approaches the fabled 5 star perfect score. Voice Memos seems to be Apple’s highest-rated built-in app currently, sitting at 4 stars. Weather is also doing relatively well, at 3.7 stars, with customers appreciating the improvements brought by the iOS 15 update. However, there is a common feature request for both the Weather and Calculator apps …”

(9to5Mac).

And Finally…

Brazilian authorities are planning, once more, to fine Apple for not including a charger with the new iPhone 13 family 

“The consumer already has the expectation that he [sic] will receive the charger along with the smartphone,” Procon-SP executive director Fernando Capez told TechTudo (in translation). “Breaking this routine can also imply an unjustified price increase.”

“…Apple does state on its website that there is no charger included, but according to the Brazilian authorities, this is not sufficient. In translation, Capez said that local consumer law requires such information to be “ostentatious,” not “camouflaged.”

(Apple Insider).

Apple Loop brings you seven days worth of highlights every weekend here on Forbes. Don’t forget to follow me so you don’t miss any coverage in the future. Last week’s Apple Loop can be read here, or this week’s edition of Loop’s sister column, Android Circuit, is also available on Forbes.

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Enter the Zuckerverse? Social media churns with new names for Facebook

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Zuckerverse. Timesuck. Faceplant.

They’re just a few of the suggestions being bandied around online following reports that Facebook plans to rebrand itself with a new group name. The company refused to comment on rumor or speculation, of course, but the Twitterati had no problem.

The debate careered from sensible to screwball to strange.

“Meta” was one of the more sober trending suggestions, referring to Facebook’s reported desire to assume a name that focuses on the metaverse, a virtual environment where users can hang out.

Bookface, Facegram, Facetagram, FreeFace, FreeTalk, World Changer.

On the wilder side, Twitter user Dave Pell drew a comparison with musician Kanye West who recently changed his name to “Ye”.

“It would be awesome if Facebook changes its name to  Ye,” he said.

Several humorous suggestions reflected online speculation that the alleged rebrand was driven by founder Mark Zuckerberg’s yearning to make Facebook “cool” once more.

The platform has been deserted by many younger users who have moved to apps like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, and has become increasingly populated by older people.

“Teenage Wasteland”, one wit suggested.

“The Old People’s App because that’s what us younger people call it,” college student Vittoria Esteves told Reuters in Rome.

“Boomerville”, suggested Marco, referring to so-called baby boomers born in the years following World War II.

‘STREISAND EFFECT’

The online naming feast was sparked by a report on the Verge tech site that a newly named group would act as a parent for all the company’s brands, including Facebook itself, Instagram and WhatsApp, and reflect a focus on virtual and augmented reality.

An announcement is expected next week, according to the report.

Many suggestions however reflected the public’s concern about how the company handles user safety and hate speech. Internal documents leaked by a whistleblower formed the basis for a U.S. Senate hearing last week.

“Fakebook”, for example. Tracebook.

Other people were sceptical whether a name change would be enough to detract from the growing legal and regulatory scrutiny that has tarnished the company’s reputation.

“It’s going to be the Barbra Streisand effect thing going on,” said 20-year old Glasgow student Thomas van der Hoven, referring to the phenomenon where seeking to suppress something inadvertently turbo-charges popular interest in it.

“So they’re going to try and change it, and then that’s just going to put the spotlight on the fact that they’re changing it. Why are they changing this?” he added. “So it’s probably going to spit back in their face at some point.”

 

(Reporting by Nivedita Balu and Antonio Denti; Additional reporting by Reuters newsrooms; Writing by Josephine Mason; Editing by Pravin Char)

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Tesla says new factories will need time to ramp up, posts record revenue

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Tesla Inc said on Wednesday its upcoming factories and supply-chain headwinds would put pressure on its margins after it beat Wall Street expectations for third-quarter revenue on the back of record deliveries.

The world’s most valuable automaker has weathered the pandemic and the global supply-chain crisis better than rivals, posting record revenue for the fifth consecutive quarter in the July-to-September period, fueled by a production build-up at its Chinese factory.

But the company led by billionaire Elon Musk faces challenges growing earnings in coming quarters due to supply chain disruptions and the time required to ramp up production at new factories in Berlin and Texas.

“There’s quite an execution journey ahead of us,” Chief Financial Officer Zachary Kirkhorn said, referring to the new factories.

Price fluctuations of raw materials such as nickel and aluminum had created an “uncertain environment with respect to cost structure”, he added.

Even so, he said Tesla was “quite a bit ahead” of its plan to increase deliveries by 50% this year.

“Q4 production will depend heavily on availability of parts, but we are driving for continued growth,” he said.

Tesla shares, up about 23% this year, were down about 0.6% in extended trade late on Wednesday.

Musk himself was not present on the quarterly earnings call for the first time, a development that may have disappointed those investors keen to hear the celebrity CEO’s latest thoughts.

Third-quarter revenue rose to $13.76 billion from $8.77 billion a year earlier, slightly beating analyst expectations according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Tesla’s automotive gross margin, excluding environmental credits, rose to 28.8%, from 25.8% the previous quarter.

Tesla’s overall average price fell as it sold more lower-priced Model 3 and Model Y cars, but it raised prices in the United States.

The company posted robust sales in China, where its low-cost Shanghai factory has surpassed the Tesla factory in Fremont, California, in terms of production.

Tesla also said it intended to use lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery chemistry, which is cheaper than traditional batteries but offers lower range, in entry-level models sold outside China. Analysts said this would help keep costs down and address shortages.

It expected the first vehicles equipped with its own 4680, bigger battery cells to be delivered early next year, although it did not say which model would be fitted with them. Musk said in September last year that using its own cells would let Tesla offer a $25,000 car in three years.

In the third quarter, Tesla posted $279 million in revenue from sales of environmental credits, the lowest level in nearly two years. The company sells its excess environmental credits to other automakers that are trying to comply with regulations in California and elsewhere.

 

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco and Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Stephen Coates)

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Samsungs Galaxy Z Flip 3 Bespoke Edition lets users customize their phone – MobileSyrup

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Samsung is letting customers customize their handsets with a new ‘Bespoke Edition’ of the foldable Galaxy Z Flip 3.

The Bespoke Edition lets users configure the foldable smartphone with one or two frame colours (black or silver) and five-panel colours, including ‘Black,’ ‘White,’ ‘Yellow,’ ‘Pink’ and ‘Blue.’

The Bespoke Edition will be available starting October 20th for $1,399.99 CAD.

Samsung says altogether this gives users 49 different colour combinations.

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Additionally, the South Korean company will let users change their device’s colours after purchasing the smartphones with ‘Bespoke Upgrade Care.’

There will also be the Galaxy Watch 4 Bespoke Studio wearables that let users customize their smartwatch before purchasing. It seems like the Z Fold 3 isn’t getting a Bespoke Edition, which is odd considering it was possible to change the frame of the Z Fold 2.

The Bespoke Studio starts at $329.99 for the 40mm variant and the $459.99 for the 42mm version.

Samsung also announced a collaboration with the designer brand Maison Kitsuné that includes special brand editions of the Galaxy Buds 2 and Galaxy Watch 4. The special edition designs include cute fox branding on both the watch and buds.

The Maison Kitsuné 40mm Galaxy Watch costs $529.99. And the Maison Kitsuné Edition Galaxy Buds 2 costs $349.99.

The South Korean tech giant is also releasing a Galaxy Watch 4 update that lets users customize their watch faces and the mix and match complications. This update brings gesture controls and the ability to activate an app with a knock-knock motion on your wrist.

To learn more about the Galaxy Z Flip 3, check out my review of the foldable smartphone.

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