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Decade in review: 2012 brought Qi wireless charging and reinvented how we juice up our phones – iMore

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Apple didn’t invent or create Qi wireless charging and was actually one of the last major phone manufacturers to include wireless charging in their phones. Apple doesn’t even have an official branded Qi wireless charging pad of its own. Apple doesn’t really have anything to do with Qi charging, and inductive charging in general, except when you start to look at the bigger picture.

The Qi charging standard for inductive charging changed the landscape of smartphones as we knew it, and when it comes to the future of all phones — iPhone included — the technology has a ton to offer.

A brief history of Qi wireless charging

Qi is an open interface that is used for wireless power transfer via inductive charging that was developed by the Wireless Power Consortium. That’s a fancy way of saying it’s a bunch of companies that work together to promote the use of Qi wireless charging around the world.

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Qi is a standard for inductive charging, but there were other organizations competing with Qi for a while. The biggest competitor was likely the Power Matters Alliance. Qi has largely “won” the wireless charging war. as now Qi wireless charging is available in many smartphones from almost every major phone manufacturer. Of course, it all started with one.

Remember Windows Phone? Qi wireless charging sure does

While Qi was “invented” in 2008, the first widely-available phone to adopt the Qi standard and feature wireless charging was the Nokia Lumia 920 in 2012. The Samsung Galaxy S3 (also made available in 2012) was Qi wireless charging compatible with an additional accessory, but Nokia put it into the phone itself.

Fun fact: The picture above is so old, it still has the watermark from when our sister site, Windows Central, was called Windows Phone Central — where has the time gone!

2012 marks the year when the idea of charging your phone with a cable plugged into your device started to become a thing of the past. Suddenly, you could put your phone down on a charging pad and watch the battery percentage go up — it was kind of like magic.

What does this have to do with Apple?

Look, it’s no secret that Apple was a little late to the Qi wireless charging game. It didn’t include inductive charging into its iPhone lineup until the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X was released in the fall of 2017, and by that point, plenty of other companies had been including it in their phones for a few years.

The benefit of Apple waiting a bit longer is that the company avoided the brief period where multiple wireless charging standards were prominent. Adopting the Qi standard once it came out on top was an easy decision, plus with the iPhone X being the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, a big design overhaul made a lot of sense. Regardless of why or why not Apple waited, Apple getting into the Qi wireless charging game is a big win for everyone, not just Apple users.

Regardless of whether you love or hate the iPhone, it’s one of the top-selling smartphones around the world. Lots of people use it every day, and therefore, when a company like Apple adopts new technology, the industry follows suit.

The adoption of Qi wireless charging has rapidly increased over the last few years. Airports have charging pads all over. IKEA makes lamps that have built-in Qi charging pads; even Starbucks includes tables with charging pads inside so you can enjoy your java and charge your phone. I’m not saying this growth is entirely because of Apple ( that would be a ridiculous claim), but it’s contribution certainly didn’t hurt.

What will Qi do for the future?

Recently, the internet went crazy when the rumor was reported that by 2021 the iPhone might have absolutely no ports at all. The headphone jack has been gone a while now, but this would mean the Lightning port would also be gone. There is absolutely no way this would even be in the realm of possibility if Qi wireless charging hadn’t made its way into the smartphone world back in 2012.

Of course, this is just a rumor, and that doesn’t mean changing to a portless design wouldn’t be without its problems. Over the air updates and device data recovery can be tricky but put all your doubt away for a second and think of what this could mean for the future.

Wireless charging, as of right now, is only so fast, but it’s getting faster — and something like a portless phone would only encourage development in these areas. Waterproofing phones without ports is easier (and less expensive to some degree), charging devices with other devices (like you can with Samsung’s flagship) would become even more useful, and likely prominent. The future is pretty bright for a world where Qi wireless charging reigns supreme.

None of it would be possible without the Qi wireless charging standard being included in the Lumia 920 in 2012.

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You need to know these 9 hidden iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 features – CNET

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iOS 14 is full of hidden gems; you just have to know where to look. 


Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

Apple’s new iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 update for your iPhone ($699 at Amazon) and iPad ($270 at Back Market) add a truckload of features we’re excited about, like widgets on the homescreen, an app drawer of sorts and privacy improvements. (Here’s how to install iOS 14 and iPad 14 right now, after prepping your phone or tablet, of course.)

These welcome enhancements will surely enrich your experience, but my favorite tricks in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 are the ones you have to work to find. For instance, you can now fully ditch Apple Mail and Safari with a new default apps setting.

Below, I’ll walk you through how to use nine of the best hidden features I’ve uncovered in iOS 14. This list will surely continue to grow, so check back for more gems. 

Set your default email or web browser

It’s true, Apple is finally giving up some control over your default apps. Right now the feature is limited to email apps and web browsers. So, for example, you can assign Chrome to be your go-to browser or Outlook as your email app of choice. 

App developers will need to update their apps for iOS 14 in order for the new default assignment option to appear, so you may need to be patient if your favorite app isn’t ready. 

To get started, open your iPhone or iPad’s Settings app and then scroll down to the bottom where it lists all of your installed apps. Find the mail or browser app you’re looking for and tap on it. If it’s been updated for iOS 14, you’ll see either Default Browser App or Default Email App; tap it and then select your preferred app. 

There’s currently a bug in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 that resets your default app selection when you restart your device. Apple is aware and promises a future update will fix it. 

Right now, I know Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Outlook and Hey email have updated to include this new “default” toggle. 

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It’s true, you can set some default apps on iOS 14. 


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Quickly get rid of app home screens

iOS 14’s new App Library acts like an app drawer, allowing you to ditch countless home screens full of apps you rarely, if ever, use. Instead of going through each app one by one and sending them to the App Library, you can hide entire home screen panels with just a few taps. 

Long-press on an empty area of your home screen to trigger edit mode. Next, tap on the page indicator, then tap the check mark below each panel you want to remove. This won’t delete those apps, but will instead move them solely to the App Library, where they’re more or less hidden in an app drawer that you can access at any time.

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The home screen on your iPhone is now a lot more customizable. 


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Banish newly downloaded apps from your home screen

You just took all that time to curate your home screens, adding widgets and keeping just your most important apps, only to have all of your hard work ruined by a new app you just downloaded. Instead of letting your iPhone put apps on your home screen when you install them, send them directly to the App Library until they prove they’re worthy. 

Open Settings > Home Screen and select App Library Only in the top section. You can easily find recently downloaded apps in the App Library’s Recently Added category, which should be the top-right folder when you view it. 

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Can’t find that emoji you need? Search for it. 


Jason Cipriani/CNET

Search the emoji keyboard

Finally — yes, this one deserves a very loud “FINALLY! “– you can search the emoji picker for exactly what you want. Launch the emoji keyboard just like you always do and now you’ll find a search bar at the top of the keyboard. 

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Your hidden photo album can actually be hidden now. Cool, right? 


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Hidden photos are now actually hidden

The ability to hide specific photos or videos has been in iOS and iPadOS for awhile now, but there was a big problem — these photos you didn’t want to see anymore were stored in a Hidden Album in the Photos app that was far too easy to find. With iOS 14, Apple has added the option to hide the hidden album, letting you truly cloak those photos and videos you want to keep, but don’t want anyone else to see. 

Turn it on by going to Settings > Photos and making sure the Hidden Album switch is turned off. (Yes, off: Enabling the setting means the Hidden Album will show in the Albums tab.) Anything you hide in your camera roll will still be saved on your device and in your iCloud Photos library, but you won’t have a way to get to it unless you go back to this setting and turn the Hidden Album feature on. 

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Picture-in-picture is one of our favorite iOS 14 features. 


Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

Watch YouTube videos in Picture in Picture mode

The iPhone now has one of my favorite iPad features: Picture in Picture (PiP) mode for watching videos or using during FaceTime calls. Here’s how it works. Instead of having to stay in an app, for example if you’re watching your favorite game streamer in Twitch, you can swipe up from the bottom of the screen to leave the app and the video will automatically shrink down to a floating window. You can move this thumbnail video around, or even hide it off the edge of the screen if you just want to listen to the audio.

The YouTube app doesn’t support PiP right now, but you can get around that by starting to watch a YouTube video in Safari in full-screen mode, then swiping up to go back to your home screen. The key is you have to put the video in full-screen mode before leaving the app. If that’s not working for you, try requesting the desktop version of the site before you start watching the video. 

If you’d rather not trigger PiP when you leave an app, turn off automatic activation by going to Settings > General > Picture in Picture and turn it off. After which, the only time PiP will be used is when you tap on the icon in a playing video. 


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Fake eye contact in FaceTime

We first saw FaceTime’s eye contact feature show up in the iOS 13 beta last year, but ultimately it was never released. Well, it’s back in iOS 14. Essentially your iPhone or iPad will make it look as if your eyes are looking directly into the camera, even if you’re staring at the screen. 

It’s a subtle feature, but one that should make the person on the other end of the call feel as if you’re fully paying attention instead. 

Turn it on by going to Settings > General > FaceTime > Eye Contact

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Tap on the back of your phone to do all kinds of fancy tricks. 


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Double- or triple-tap on the back of the phone to trigger actions

A new accessibility feature called Back Tap makes it possible to trigger system features, like multitasking or Control Center, or launch a Shortcut just by tapping on the back of your iPhone two or three times. 

Find the feature in Settings > Accessibility > Touch > Back Tap. Pick the number of taps you want to use, and then you’ll see a list of actions you can initiate. 

For example, you can triple-tap on the back of your phone to take a screenshot or launch Siri

When I first read about this feature, I thought it would be all too easy to prompt it just by putting my iPhone in my pocket or placing it on my desk. But that hasn’t been the case at all — the phone seems good at identifying the tap pattern before it activates. 

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You can use the Apple Pencil to write in any text field. 


Scott Stein/CNET

Scribble in any text field on your iPad with Apple Pencil

The iPad has a new feature called Scribble. It basically converts any text field into a box that you can write in using an Apple Pencil, and your iPad will convert your handwriting to typed text automatically. 

If you’re in the middle of jotting notes and you get a new iMessage, you can pull down the alert and use the quick-reply field to write out your response and go back to writing notes, all without ever putting down the Pencil or activating the keyboard. 

For heavy Apple Pencil users, Scribble should speed up a lot of tasks that normally would have been slowed down by having to switch between stylus and keyboard. 

There’s so much more to these updated operating systems. iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 are available as free updates and don’t take long to install. Just make sure to do some housekeeping on your device before installing to make sure the process goes smoothly. And don’t be surprised if there are some issues with your favorite apps for the first few days — Apple surprised everyone, including developers, by releasing the update the day after the Sept. 15 “Time Flies” event.

Update, Sept. 18., 11:50 a.m.: Adds info about default apps resetting.

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Twitter and Zoom’s algorithmic bias issues – TechCrunch

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Both Zoom and Twitter found themselves under fire this weekend for their respective issues with algorithmic bias. On Zoom, it’s an issue with the video conferencing service’s virtual backgrounds and on Twitter, it’s an issue with the site’s photo cropping tool.

It started when Ph.D. student Colin Madland tweeted about a Black faculty member’s issues with Zoom. According to Madland, whenever said faculty member would use a virtual background, Zoom would remove his head.

“We have reached out directly to the user to investigate this issue,” a Zoom spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We’re committed to providing a platform that is inclusive for all.”

When discussing that issue on Twitter, however, the problems with algorithmic bias compounded when Twitter’s mobile app defaulted to only showing the image of Madland, the white guy, in preview.

“Our team did test for bias before shipping the model and did not find evidence of racial or gender bias in our testing,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement to TechCrunch. “But it’s clear from these examples that we’ve got more analysis to do. We’ll continue to share what we learn, what actions we take, and will open source our analysis so others can review and replicate.”

Twitter pointed to a tweet from its chief design officer, Dantley Davis, who ran some of his own experiments. Davis posited Madland’s facial hair affected the result, so he removed his facial hair and the Black faculty member appeared in the cropped preview. In a later tweet, Davis said he’s “as irritated about this as everyone else. However, I’m in a position to fix it and I will.”

Twitter also pointed to an independent analysis from Vinay Prabhu, chief scientist at Carnegie Mellon. In his experiment, he sought to see if “the cropping bias is real.”

In response to the experiment, Twitter CTO Parag Agrawal said addressing the question of whether cropping bias is real is “a very important question.” In short, sometimes Twitter does crop out Black people and sometimes it doesn’t. But the fact that Twitter does it at all, even once, is enough for it to be problematic.

It also speaks to the bigger issue of the prevalence of bad algorithms. These same types of algorithms are what leads to biased arrests and imprisonment of Black people. They’re also the same kind of algorithms that Google used to label photos of Black people as gorillas and that Microsoft’s Tay bot used to become a white supremacist.

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Microsoft pledges to bring Xbox game streaming to iOS: 'we will get there' – MobileSyrup

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Xbox chief Phil Spencer has promised that the company’s game streaming service will eventually come to iOS at some point in the future.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Spencer noted that there are “ongoing discussions” between Microsoft and Apple to make this happen.

“We’re committed to bringing xCloud to all mobile endpoints, including Apple’s big ecosystem,” he said. For customers out there — and I see it on Twitter all the time, people asking — they can just know we will get there. We remain committed.”

On September 15th, Microsoft launched game streaming on Android, allowing those in Canada and 21 other countries with a $16.99 CAD/month Game Pass Ultimate subscription to play more than 150 Xbox games through the cloud. This includes major exclusive titles like Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Gears 5 and Sea of Thieves, as well as notable third-party titles such as Destiny 2The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, all through Game Pass Ultimate.

However, Xbox game streaming has not yet come to iOS, despite Microsoft expressing a desire to bring the service to as many platforms as possible. The reason for this exclusion is because Apple’s App Store rules prevent all-in-one game streaming services like Xbox’s, as well as others like Google’s Stadia and Nvidia’s GeForce Now.

While Apple recently updated its storefront policies, they still prevent Xbox game streaming as it currently exists. That’s because Apple still requires each Game Pass title to be made available on the App Store through its own app. Naturally, this would allow Apple to take its standard 30 percent cut on a per-title basis, rather than a less lucrative share of subscription fees.

In response, Microsoft argued that this would create a “bad experience” for consumers. Further, the company also stated that it’s unreasonable that gaming services like Game Pass are subject to being carved up in such a way when video streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ are able to carry all of their content within the app with no further regulation from Apple.

For now, though, Spencer seems to think Microsoft will be able to come to some sort of agreement with Apple. As it stands, it’s unclear when — if at all — the two companies may strike a deal.

It also remains to be seen whether Fortnite maker Epic’s ongoing legal battle with Apple — in which it argues that the Cupertino, California-based tech giant employs unfair, monopolistic App Store practices —  might result in a loosening of the App Store’s policies that could, in turn, allow Game Pass to come to iOS.

Source: Bloomberg

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