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Exclusive: Arizona leads multi-state probe into older iPhones slowing, shutting down – Reuters Canada

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FILE PHOTO: A man takes pictures of iPhones in the new Apple flagship store on its opening day following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Sanlitun in Beijing, China, July 17, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Arizona is leading a multi-U.S. state probe into whether Apple Inc’s deliberate slowing of older iPhones violated deceptive trade practice laws, documents reviewed by Reuters on Wednesday showed.

Last week, a separate document released by a tech watchdog group showed the Texas attorney general might sue Apple for such violations in connection with a multi-state probe, without specifying charges.

In the ongoing probe since at least October 2018, investigators have asked Apple for data about “unexpected shutdowns” of iPhones and the company’s throttling, or slowing down, of the devices through power management software, documents Reuters obtained through a public records request showed.

The attorneys general offices in Arizona and Texas declined to comment. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Apple came under fire in 2017 when Primate Labs, the maker of software for measuring a phone’s processor speeds, revealed that some iPhones became slower as they aged.

Apple later acknowledged that it reduced power demands – which can slow the processor – when an aging phone’s battery struggles to supply the peak current the processor demands. Apple said without its adjustments, iPhones would have unexpectedly shut down from power spikes.

Outraged iPhone users said that appeared to confirm long-held suspicions that Apple slowed older devices to encourage users to buy new phones. Apple publicly apologized and slashed prices on battery replacements.

Earlier this year, Apple agreed to pay up to $500 million to settle a proposed class-action lawsuit related to the battery issues.

Reporting by Paresh Dave and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Greg Mitchell and Richard Chang

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Samsung's Galaxy Note 20 series doesn't include USB-C earbuds in its box – MobileSyrup

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Though rumours indicated that Apple would likely be the first smartphone manufacturer to stop including wired headphones in its flagship smartphones’ boxes, Samsung has made the controversial move first with the release of the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra.

In the box, the Note 20 series includes a charging brick, a SIM card removal tool, a USB cable, an S Pen and of course, either the Note 20 or the Note 20 Ultra — the AKG USB-C headphones that came with the Note 10 and Note 10+ are nowhere to be found.

Samsung’s Note 10 and Note 10+ were the first smartphones from the South Korean tech giant not to include a 3.5mm headphone jack. These devices were followed by the S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra a few months later.

While Apple stopped including standard 3.5mm earbuds and a headphone jack with the iPhone alongside the release of the iPhone 7 back in 2016, the tech giant continues to offer Lightning headphones in the box. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were also the first iPhones to not feature a 3.5mm headphone jack.

At the time, Samsung poked fun at Apple with its ‘Growing Up’ series of commercials. The ads showed an iPhone user getting increasingly frustrated with the smartphone’s limitations before buying a Galaxy device instead. One part of the commercial focuses on a 3.5mm headphone-to-USB-C adapter. Samsung has also made jokes about Apple ditching the plug at Unpacked events.

Unsurprisingly, following the release of the Note 10 and Note 10+, Samsung’s first smartphones that don’t feature a 3.5mm headphone jack, the tech giant pulled the ads.

With all that said, there are still rumours circulating that Apple could stop including both USB-C EarPods and a charging brick with its upcoming 2020 iPhones. In Samsung’s defence, at least the company hasn’t pulled the charger from the box — at least not yet.

The company is also offering the first 15,000 Canadians that pre-order or buy the Note 20 an ‘e-voucher’ that gives purchasers the option of three-months free of Game Pass Ultimate, an Xbox controller and a wireless charger, or free Galaxy Buds+. With Note 20 Ultra pre-orders, you’ll be able to select between the same free gaming bundle, or Samsung’s new Galaxy Buds Live earbuds.

Unsurprisingly, I’ve yet to see any “courage” jokes related to Samsung ditching including wired earbuds with the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra.

The 128GB Note 20, which is available in new ‘Mystic Bronze’ and ‘Mystic Green’ colours, is also available in ‘Mystic Grey,’ and costs $1,399 CAD. The 128GB Note 20 Ultra costs $1,818, and the 512GB configuration costs $2,029. Ultra colours include ‘Mystic Bronze’ and ‘Mystic Black.’

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Canadian pricing and availability for Samsung Galaxy Note 20, Watch 3, Buds and Tab S7 – MobileSyrup

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Below is the Canadian pricing and availability for all of the devices that Samsung unveiled at its 2020 Unpacked event, including the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra, the Tab S7 and Tab S7+, the Galaxy Watch 3, Galaxy Buds Live and the Galaxy Z Fold 2.

Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra

The 128GB Note 20 is available in new ‘Mystic Bronze’ ‘Mystic Green’ and ‘Mystic Grey,’ and costs $1,399 CAD.

The 128GB Note 20 Ultra costs $1,818 and the 512GB configuration costs $2,029. The Ultra comes in ‘Mystic Bronze,’ ‘Mystic Black’ and ‘Mystic White.’

Pre-orders for the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra launch on August 5th with the smartphone being available starting August 21st. With the pre-order of the Note 20 Ultra, you can get either the Galaxy Buds Live or an Xbox Game Pass Bundle.

Carrier pricing is available, here.

Galaxy Tab S7 and Tab S7+

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Tab S7 starts at $919 CAD for the 128GB model and goes up to $1,029 CAD for the 256GB storage option.

The Tab S7+ starts at $1,189 CAD and goes up to $1,299 CAD. It’s worth noting that both 256GB versions of the tablet are only available in ‘Mystic Black.’ The device launches on August 21st like the Note 20 series.

Galaxy Watch 3

The 45mm Galaxy Watch 3 costs $599 CAD and is available in ‘Mystic Black’ and ‘Mystic Silver,’ and the 41mm in ‘Mystic Bronze’ and ‘Mystic Silver’ costs $549.

The wearable releases on August 5th, and if you purchase the Galaxy Watch 3 between its launch and September 4th, you’ll get an e-voucher for a Wireless DuoPad at Samsung Experience Stores, Samsung.com or an authorized retailer.

Galaxy Buds Live

Galaxy Buds Live

Samsung’s new high-end Galaxy Buds Live earbuds release on August 7th online in ‘Mystic White,’ ‘Mystic Bronze’ and ‘Mystic Black’ for $249 CAD. The Galaxy Buds Live will be available in-store on August 21st.

If you’re among the first customers to purchase the Buds Live between August 5th and September 4th, you’ll get a free e-voucher for a wireless charger pad or Samsung DuoPad.

Galaxy Z Fold 2

Galaxy Z Fold 2

Not much is known about pricing for the Galaxy Z Fold 2, but pre-orders go live on September 1st in the United States. We’ve reached out to Samsung Canada for more information regarding Canadian pricing and availability.

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Virginia launches the first U.S. app using Apple-Google coronavirus notification technology – CNBC

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Germany’s coronavirus contact-tracing app, Corona-Warn, is displayed on an iPhone in Berlin on Tuesday, June 16, 2020.

Krisztian Bocsi | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Virginia’s coronavirus notification app, called Covidwise, launched on Wednesday, just under four months after the AppleGoogle partnership was first announced.

Virginia is the first state in the United States to use the Apple-Google technology built into iPhones and Android phones. The exposure notification technology and contact-tracing apps were once heralded as a critical part of some countries’ strategies to lift their lockdowns, but low adoption and unclear effectiveness in some countries have dampened enthusiasm for the apps

Virginia’s app, like all apps using the Apple-Google framework, uses Bluetooth signals on a smartphone to determine how closely and for how long two phones were nearby, without collecting the location of the contact or the identity of the users. Then, if one of the phone’s users were to test positive for Covid-19, the system is able to notify any other phones with the app that they might have been exposed to the virus through a push notification and tell them to get tested or quarantine. 

“For the purpose of this app, there wasn’t an absolute need to be able to track where you are or who you are,” Jeff Stover, director of the Virginia Department of Health, said on a video call with reporters. “The most important thing was that you know whether or not you’ve potentially been exposed, and that we can all take actions to do whatever prevention is necessary.” 

When users test positive for Covid-19, they get a six-digit pin number provided by the Virginia Department of Health that they can input into their app. That six-digit pin unscrambles a database of encrypted contacts, which allows the system to send push notifications to people who may have been exposed. 

Virginia’s Covidwise app requires a 6-digit PIN number to confirm a positive test result.

Screenshot/CNBC

The app wasn’t built by Apple or Google — the two tech giants built software into iOS and Android to make it possible. Virginia paid SpringML $229,000 to develop the Covidwise app, and it was funded by the CARES act, Stover said.

Other states in the U.S. have released similar apps, but some of them, such as one in Utah, have used a location-based approach instead of Apple-Google system, which requires apps using it to eschew GPS and emphasizes anonymity. Apple and Google have also said they will turn the system off when the pandemic is over. 

One of the most successful exposure notification apps using the Apple-Google system is in Germany. The app, called Corona-Warn-App, was downloaded over 16 million times at the end of July out of a population of 82 million, according to the BBC. In France, which used a different Bluetooth system not backed by the tech giants, only 14 people were notified using the app over its first three weeks. 

One issue with the apps is that they will need to be installed by a large percentage of the population to work effectively — if a phone isn’t running the app, then it will miss potential exposures. One study by researchers at Oxford University suggested that 60% of the population would need to install an exposure notification app to suppress the virus.

“Effective is going to be anyone’s guess as how you want to describe that. But they also state in the [Oxford] study that they estimate that for every one to two app users, you will potentially reduce the infection by one,” Stover said. 

Virginia plans to heavily advertise the app on billboards, digital ads, and through partnerships with schools and workplaces, and Google has offered advertising credits for its search engine and Google Play app store, officials said. 

Google said last week in a blog post that 20 states and territories are “exploring” apps based on the system. While the app works outside of Virginia, positive tests require a six-digit pin from the Virginia Department of Health to notify others, effectively limiting its range. 

There is no plan for a national coronavirus exposure app, but Virginia officials said that the state is likely to participate in a program building a “national key server” that would enable apps from different states to work together.

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