Apple has been using the same iPhone design for three generations now, and some avid Apple fans are bored of it. Of course, as we all now know, that doesn’t matter at all. Apple’s current-generation iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max might look the same as the iPhone XS series from a year earlier and the iPhone X from the year before that, but the trio of 2019 smartphones still helped Apple pull off a record-breaking quarter in fiscal Q1. Wondering if cheaper previous-generation iPhone models might have actually played the biggest role in boosting Apple’s iPhone sales? They certainly might have helped, but Apple executives confirmed during the company’s Q1 earnings call that the iPhone 11 has been Apple’s best-selling smartphone model every single week since it was first released this past September. iPhone sales are all about upgrade cycles now, not design cycles, and it looks like plenty of people were due for upgrades during the holiday quarter. That makes sense, of course, since iPhones last longer and longer these days, and the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 series were so popular back in 2015 and 2016.
So, now we have established that Apple doesn’t need to refresh its iPhone designs every other year like it used to in order to drive iPhone sales. Even still, hardcore Apple fans and gadget lovers who always need the latest and greatest gear are undoubtedly going to appreciate it when Apple releases completely redesigned iPhone 12 models later this year. That’s right, the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max will deliver a fresh new look that we’ve read plenty about so far in leaks, and new a new hands-on video shows off the designs of all three upcoming next-generation iPhones.
We’ve seen a bunch of details surrounding Apple’s upcoming new iPhone 12 models leak in recent months. Some sources have better track records than others though, and the person we’ve come to believe more than anyone else is longtime Apple insider and TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
According to his reports, Apple’s new iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max will feature a display design that’s similar to the iPhone 11 and other all-screen iPhones that have come before it, but it’ll feature flat metal edges instead of rounded ones like current iPhones. Imagine the iPhone 11 merged with an iPhone 5, and that should give you an idea of what to expect. Actually, why bother imagining when a new leak appears to show off the designs of all three new iPhone 12 models on video?
Japanese-language Apple news blog Macotakara got its hands on three physical mockups that are believed to accurately represent the designs of Apple’s upcoming new iPhone 12 models. That said, it’s possible that the video is missing one — according to Kuo, Apple actually plans to launch four new iPhone 12 models this coming fall. Here’s a graphic from an earlier Kuo report:
The first new iPhone pictured there is the “iPhone 9” or “iPhone SE 2” that Apple is expected to release in March. It will supposedly have a design similar to the iPhone 8 and specs similar to the iPhone 11, offering shoppers an update affordable iPhone option in place of the iPhone SE. As for flagship iPhone models, there are apparently four new ones set to launch in September.
Instead of just one lower-cost option like the iPhone 11, there will be two different iPhone 12 models with less impressive specs and more affordable prices. One will feature a 5.4-inch OLED screen, while the second will sport a 6.1-inch screen. Then there will be two Pro models with triple-lens camera systems, an iPhone 12 Pro with a 6.1-inch display and an iPhone 12 Pro Max with a new larger 6.7-inch screen. The smaller Pro model was omitted from Macotakara’s leak, and we can tell because the 6.1-inch iPhone shown in the video and in accompanying photos has a dual-lens rear camera. Kuo’s reports are often based on very early information though, so it’s possible that Apple scrapped one of the iPhone 12 models it was planning. If that’s the case, then this new video might cover all of the new iPhones set to be released this fall.
There are two more important notes to keep in mind when watching this hands-on video. First, the bezels around the mocked up display look massive, but that’s because the space there accounts for the iPhone 12’s actual bezel and the metal edges of the phones. Second, according to the leaked CAD files on which these dummies are based, it looks like we’re in store for at least one more year of iPhones with a big notch at the top of their screens. Rumors had suggested Apple was trying to shrink down the components of the TrueDepth camera to fit in the bezel above the display, but the company apparently isn’t yet ready to pull it off.
Macotakara’s full video is embedded below.
SpaceX: Elon Musk inspires sci-fi manga fans with latest Starship mockup – Inverse
Could SpaceX’s Starship feature an homage to a famous manga-inspired sci-fi film?
CEO Elon Musk shared an image Tuesday of the company’s upcoming rocket, designed to send humans to Mars and beyond, mocked up with images from Alita: Battle Angel. The 2019 American film is based on the ’90s Japanese manga Battle Angel Alita, and tells the story of a cyborg named Alita that works to uncover her mysterious past.
“Battle Angel Starship,” Musk wrote to his 31.5 million Twitter followers, sharing an image of the under-development rocket emblazoned with an image of Alita, the quote “all or nothing,” and the words “Mars Hunter Warrior,” a reference to Alita’s future bounty hunter role. The ship also features the number 99, commonly associated with the character and a number she uses when playing motorball.
Oh, and of course, it features a giant SpaceX logo.
Musk has been known to regularly share memes and jokes that reference science fiction and anime. Earlier this month he shared an image of Bernie Sanders standing in the United States Senate, photoshopped to look as if he’s explaining the famously abstract ending of Neon Genesis Evangelion. In October 2018, he professed his love of anime over Twitter and declared that he owned a chibi Wolverine. Musk mentioned in January 2017 that Ghost in the Shell was “not the ideal ending” and the then-forthcoming live-action version had “a lot of potential.”
Unfortunately that potential never seemed to quite materialize. The live-action Ghost in the Shell scored 44 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Alita: Battle Angel also received a similarly muted 61 percent. The original works of both are hailed as classics.
Although it seems like a lighthearted joke in Musk’s downtime, he has been known to make references to science fiction in his work. Tesla vehicles are fitted with a Ludicrous mode and expected to offer PLaid power at a later date, both references to cult classic Spaceballs. SpaceX’s two rocket recovery ships are named Of Course I Still Love You and Just Read the Instructions, both references to Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels. The red Tesla Roadster that launched on the first Falcon Heavy trip features the words “Don’t Panic,” a reference to Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series.
The mockup also resembles a piece of aerial history: the nose art of World War 2 planes. The designs painted on planes in the era took a number of shapes: cobras, sharks, celebrities of the era like Ernie Pyle. But perhaps the most famous of these designs were sexualized pinup models of famous actresses like Rita Hayworth.
Musk’s art could be a tribute to this history, but it’s also worth noting that the character of Alita is presented as a teenager.
Whether this latest image is a sign of things to come for Starship may become clear relatively soon. SpaceX is aiming to launch the rocket on a fully-reusable orbital flight this year, the first step toward its more ambitious projects. These include a trip around the moon with Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, scheduled for around 2023. It also includes sending the first humans to Mars, where they will be tasked with building a city by 2050. This will be designed to support future missions for the Starship, acting as a refueling base so people can fly out further and explore other planets in the solar system.
We’ll have to wait and see whether “Mars Hunter Warrior”s will somehow feature in these plans.
Xbox Series X Specs News Update: Smart Delivery, TFLOPS, SSD, And More Detailed – GameSpot
Ahead of an official price and release date reveal, Microsoft has announced new details in regards to its upcoming next-gen console, the Xbox Series X. In a blog post, Xbox head Phil Spencer focuses on a handful of key areas: hardware power, variable-rate shading and ray-tracing, an improved quick resume function, and a brand-new feature Microsoft is calling “smart delivery.”
The hardware will boast 12 TFLOPS of GPU power, which Microsoft notes is twice that of Xbox One X, based on an AMD Zen 2 and RDNA 2 architecture. A Variable Rate Shading technique allows the GPU to prioritize individual effects on specific game objects rather than focus on the entire screen. It will also sport hardware-based DirectX ray-tracing. The post also confirms SSD storage and 120 FPS support.
As for what all that power will go towards, Microsoft shared some end-user features too. The Quick Resume feature promises to be faster without waiting through loading screens, and now it can be used with multiple games at once. Xbox Series X will be backwards compatible with all previous generations of Xbox games and accessories. A new “Smart Delivery”‘ feature is essentially cross-buy, letting you purchase a game once and play it on whatever is the best hardware available. Microsoft says that developers and publishers will be able to choose to use the feature on games that release first on Xbox One and then later come to Xbox Series X.
Finally, Microsoft is continuing to promote its Game Pass subscription service, noting that it will carry forward into the next-generation and continue including first-party games. This notably includes Halo Infinite at launch.
The Xbox Series X is Microsoft’s first volley into the next generation, as the company has noted that it’s switching to just Xbox for its branding going forward. That means we may see multiple hardware revisions within the Xbox family, similar to a smartphone model. We don’t know a price or release date yet, but Microsoft may reveal those at its E3 2020 presentation. For more details, check out everything we know about Xbox Series X.
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Xplornet reportedly to be bought by US investment firm for $2 billion – MobileSyrup
Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners has reportedly agreed to purchase Xplornet for roughly $2 billion USD (about $2.6 billion CAD), including debt.
Stonepeak Infrastructure is an independent investment firm based in New York that focuses on North American infrastructure opportunities. Xplornet owns a hybrid fibre wireless and satellite network. Its hybrid network relies on fixed-wireless towers and satellites to reach rural areas.
Bloomberg reports that it heard from people familiar with the matter that the deal could be announced as soon as next month. The sources also said that Xplornet was looking for a buyer for the past few months.
MobileSyrup has reached out to Xplornet for a comment regarding the matter.
In 2017, when Bell began phasing out its Bell MTS wireless branding, around 24,700 MTS subscribers were distributed to Xplornet. The carrier announced its new Xplore Mobile brand in 2018 and said that its wireless services would focus on fairness and simplicity.
Earlier this month, Xplornet acquired Silo Wireless to help it establish a national hybrid fibre and 5G wireless broadband network for rural Canadians. All of the Brantford-based company’s customers are now under the Xplornet umbrella.
Xplornet currently serves around one million Canadians across the country, which includes 300,000 residents in rural areas.
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