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MagSafe on iPhone 12: I was wrong to doubt Apple's magnetic charger – CNET

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MagSafe is a snap-on charger, and it’s great. But it’s also proprietary, and iPhone 12-only for now.


Patrick Holland/CNET

The iPhone 12 has a new magnetic charger system called MagSafe. It’s a familiar name because MagSafe used to be on all the MacBooks, once upon a time. It auto-attached and easily popped off so that tripping over a wire wouldn’t knock your laptop off a table… and was generally appreciated.

I didn’t love the idea of MagSafe when Apple first announced it for the iPhone 12, because all I wanted was USB-C. I wanted a normal nonproprietary charger. Instead, Apple doubled down on its proprietary charge options. It seemed interesting but unnecessary.

I still want USB-C. But I was wrong about MagSafe.

magsafe-iphone12magsafe-iphone12

Strong magnets, and works with supported cases.


Scott Stein/CNET

New, and yet familiar

I’ve gotten to try out an iPhone 12 Pro and MagSafe charger for the last day or so, and it’s already won me over. The charger costs an extra $39, and doesn’t come with a charge adapter, so you also need one of those (any USB-C one will work, but here are some good charger adapter suggestions). But it feels very much like a giant Apple Watch charger for the iPhone. And that should have been my first hint that I’d appreciate the idea.

The Apple Watch has a snap-on proprietary magnetic charger too, and it works similarly. It pops on easily, the watch makes a little chime and I see the charge status. Same thing for the iPhone. It makes charging the iPhone a no-brainer, as long as I have the charge cable nearby. It seems to drift to rooms I’m not in, and other rooms don’t have the charger because, well, those other rooms have Lightning, or USB-C, or Qi chargers.

You have to remember to bring that MagSafe charge cable with you, and in that sense it’s like every specialized wearable tech charger I’ve seen for the last decade. Little ones, big ones, pronged ones. They work well for the wearable you’ve got, but don’t lose them.

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Apple Watch and MagSafe: nope, this does not work.


Scott Stein/CNET

How many MagSafe variants will there be, and will they ever do data transfer?

My first thought is that Apple needs to put MagSafe on all its devices. But then I wondered, how will that happen? Will that large disc-based charger snap onto future iPads, or MacBooks? Will magnet-covered zones exist, ready for MagSafe? Or will different-size adapters emerge, made for particular devices? Much like the Apple Watch, as compared with the iPhone 12?

I also wonder whether MagSafe could combine with some sort of data, to allow accessories or also act as a dock. Suddenly I feel like I’m in Moto Mod territory. Apple expanding upon its smart-connected accessories feels like an idea long hinted at and somewhat overdue. Smart Connector keyboards have been around for years, but not much else.

The long-term questions about MagSafe are many, but right now I like it a lot more than I thought I would. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still want USB-C. I still hope Apple doesn’t skip USB-C on the next iPhone. I’d prefer MagSafe be a doorway to an additional landscape of accessories, and hope that Apple stays far away from replacing that one port left on the iPhone.


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$2M from angel donor helps Edmonton toddler receive life-saving treatment – CTV Edmonton

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EDMONTON —
It was July 17 and Kaysen Martin’s second birthday had come and gone.

A day that had more significance than just adding another candle to the cake. It was also the deadline for Kaysen’s family to raise $2.8 million for a one-time gene therapy treatment to combat a rare disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1 (SMA 1).

Fast forward four-and-a-half months.

An “angel donor” donated the remaining $2 million Kaysen needed to receive the therapy drug Zolgensma to treat the disease that affects the muscles used for lung support, swallowing, and crawling.

“It was a huge sigh of relief,” Kaysen’s mom, Lana Bernardin, told CTV News Edmonton. “It did take longer and, you know, it was complicated, but at the end of the day, we’re here, it’s done, (the drug) is in him and that’s all that matters.”

His family raised hundreds of thousands of dollars before the July 17 deadline thanks to community, and celebrity, donations.

Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds donated $5,000 to the cause while Edmonton-born actor Nathan Fillion put out a call for help on Twitter.

“To be able to come forward today and say that this has happened, we made it happen as a community is like amazing,” said Bernardin.

Which means adding more candles on Kaysen’s birthday cakes for years to come.

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FIFA 21 PS4 Vs. PS5 Graphics Comparison – Forbes

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FIFA 21 is available a day early on next-gen systems for fans who purchased the game on the current-gen version. There are a number of gameplay videos surfacing, but most of them aren’t exactly capturing the beauty of 4K gameplay due to system limitations.

Operation Sports’ YouTube channel has not only found the right settings for 4K capture on the PlayStation 5, it has also put together a video that compares the game side-by-side to the PlayStation 4 version.

Take a look in the video below:


Early Impressions: The Biggest Differences

The haptic feedback in the PS5 controller continues to be a game-changer, and that’s especially the case in sports games. In FIFA on PS5, in addition to some resistance in the triggers when you’re controller a tiring player, you can feel a rumble from the eruption of a large crowd in one of the game’s massive stadiums.

It might be one of the most immersive usages of the technology I’ve felt in almost three weeks of gameplay.

The visual differences aren’t quite as noticeable. Closeups of players generate some stunning detail, but from the playable cameras, it’s tougher to see the upgrades. Quite honestly, with a game like world football, this is to be expected.

The gameplay feels solid, but I cannot say that I’m feeling a major difference on that front as of yet.

However, I will hone in on the areas of the game that were said to have be upgraded, and that will be my focus areas in my upcoming review.


Review is in Process

Expect to see a full review of the PS5 version of FIFA 21 by Monday, December 7.

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Federal COVID Alert app wasn't working for some users for much of November – CBC.ca

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The developers of Canada’s COVID Alert app fixed a glitch last week that left some users without exposure notifications for much of November.

An update to the app released on Nov. 23 said it would fix a “bug causing gaps in exposure checks for some users.” Without the patch, some Canadians running the app would not have been notified if they came in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.

It’s unclear how many people missed exposure notifications due to the glitch. But it does raise the prospect that certain users weren’t advised to self-isolate or seek a COVID-19 test in a timely manner, potentially delaying diagnosis.

“For two weeks, the app basically didn’t work” for those users, said Urs Hengartner, an associate professor of computer science at the University of Waterloo.

He and others on social media said their devices had not performed any exposure checks from Nov. 9 to 23. The process — when a smartphone receives codes from a central server and verifies whether the user was potentially exposed to someone with COVID-19 — is supposed to take place several times a day. 

WATCH | How the COVID Alert app works

[embedded content]

The problem appears to have first been reported by commenters in the Google Play Store as early as Nov. 12. That’s 11 days before it was fixed.

“I noticed today that COVID Alert has done no exposure checks for the last two weeks,” a user wrote in Apple’s App Store on Nov. 20. “What good is this?”

Users are urged to check their app store (the Google Play Store for people with Android devices and Apple’s App Store for those with iPhones) to ensure their app is now up to date. Users who haven’t installed the latest update — version 1.1.2 — could still be missing exposure checks. 

COVID Alert is designed to take note when two users spend at least 15 minutes less than two metres apart. If a user later tests positive for COVID-19, they can use the app to anonymously notify contacts of potential exposure. 

COVID Alert has been downloaded more than 5.5 million times and is touted by federal officials as a tool to help slow the spread of the virus. The app is active in the Northwest Territories and all provinces except Alberta and B.C.

During the two-week period in November when some users reported the malfunction, 1,182 people used the app to report a positive test in Ontario alone, according to provincial data.

COVID-19 infection rates continued to rise across much of the country during that time. Ontario, for example, announced lockdown measures in its two most populous regions, and P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador both announced on Nov. 23 they would withdraw from the Atlantic bubble due to increasing case counts elsewhere in the region.

The COVID Alert app is designed to notice when two users spend at least 15 minutes less than two metres apart. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Bianca Healy, a spokesperson for the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, which houses the app’s development team, confirmed in an email Thursday evening that “on some devices, if the app was not opened by the user for an extended period of time, COVID Alert would stop checking in the background for the random codes that would trigger a notification that a user may have been exposed to COVID-19. This bug has now been fixed.”

Healy said the app’s built-in privacy features prevent federal officials from knowing how many users may have been affected.

“We encourage Canadians to update COVID Alert as soon as possible,” she wrote. “They can also open the app to ensure that COVID Alert is checking for potential exposures.”

Hengartner, the computer science professor, said it is “a little concerning that it took two weeks to fix this bug.” He said both he and his wife experienced the same issue.

He called it “a fatal bug for this kind of system,” as it defeats the purpose of the app entirely.

It’s unknown what caused the glitch, but Hengartner said he suspects it was an error in a previous COVID Alert update.

Users weren’t immediately warned

Smartphone users can choose to automatically receive app updates or download them manually. Apple’s App Store lists 14 updates for COVID Alert since its initial release in July. 

The Canadian Digital Service, the federal agency responsible for developing the app, tweeted a message on Nov. 26 asking users to make sure they have the latest COVID Alert update. “This will ensure your app is doing what it’s supposed to do, and you’re not missing any checks or notifications,” the message read.

The tweet did not mention that the scenario it described was real and posed a potential risk to some users. It’s unclear what other steps the federal agency took to alert users of the importance of the latest update.

Hengartner stressed the problem should not discourage Canadians from installing COVID Alert.

However, Kelly Bronson, a Canada Research Chair in science and society, said the episode does highlight how the app could provide users with a “false sense of security.” She pointed to “automation bias,” a human tendency to rely on automated decision-making, which can reduce personal vigilance.

Bronson, who serves on the Global Pandemic App Watch program at the University of Ottawa, which tracks the uptake of similar tools around the world, warned the apps “are not a panacea.”

“I think it’s really important that people know the limitations of these technologies,” she said.

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