June 16 update below, post originally published June 15.
As the Android world prepares for even more folding smartphones, will Apple join the party? I’m very confident that Tim Cook and his team have a folding iPhone, but I’m less certain if it will ever see the light of day.
June 16 update: Following on from the discussion of the foldable iPhone, Apple has been awarded a patent for a hinge made out of material or flexible plastic. Patently Apple’s Jack Purcher:
“Apple notes that hinges such as hinges for laptop computers have interlocking metal parts. These parts can be bulky and unattractive. Covers for devices such as tablet computers may have structures formed from flexible layers of material. A flexible layer of material such as a plastic sheet may be sufficiently flexible to allow a cover or other item to bend over a desired range of angles, but provides limited control and stability.”
A material-based hinge coupled with a two-display solution would offer the best of both worlds. The question is whether the public will ever see such a device from Apple.
Details on the potential shape-shifting smartphone come from noted Apple leaker Jon Prosser, who has built up a strong track record during 2020, with a number o artistic renders being supplied in the replies:
Apple’s “foldable” iPhone isn’t really a foldable. The current prototype has two separate display panels on a hinge. Round, stainless steel edges like current iPhone 11 design. No notch — tiny forehead on outer display that houses Face ID.
In other words, it’s more like Microsoft’s Surface Duo than Samsung’s Galaxy Fold 2 (both of which are heading for a head-to-head release later this quarter). The difference, according to Prosser, is that the two displays in Apple’s unit are going to be close enough together along the hinged edge that the effect will be that “…when the displays are extended, it looks fairly continuous and seamless.”
While I have no specific knowledge on this, I am one hundred percent confident that this handset exists inside Cupertino. Just as I am confident that Apple will have a folding iPhone with a single curving screen, an iPhone that will flip closed like a Motorola StarTAC, an iPhone with no external ports at all, and other crazy designs.
Because that’s what research departments do. They bring together the latest ideas, try them out, and any that show promise will no doubt be built up in kit bashing form to see if they actually work in real life.
If I head into my big box of older tech, I know I have a few unreleased prototype smartphones and PDAs from years gone by that never saw commercial release (hello, Odin). With the rise of folding phones from all the major manufacturers and a significant number of parts in the supply chain, a prototype folding iPhone will be somewhere inside Apple’s campus.
The bigger question is if it will be released. Apple, for all the talk of thinking different, is a company that is reticent to follow trends. Whether that is because it wants to get things right before a release, or it is struggling with The Innovators Dilemma, the end result is the same.
There is definitely a folding iPhone. It maybe will see the light of day.
Meanwhile, the main iPhone line carries on with its slow and iterative updates to a traditional design.
Google's aluminum Pixel 5 has a hole in the back for wireless charging – MobileSyrup
If you spent some time studying the Pixel 5 specifications after Google announced the phone yesterday, you may be wondering how on earth the search giant managed to include wireless charging in an aluminum phone.
Well, Google confirmed the details to a few U.S. members of the press, including Android Authority’s David Imel, who shared the engineering behind it on Twitter. In short, the Pixel 5’s aluminum chassis has a physical cutout for the Qi charging coil. Google coated the whole back of the phone in a ‘bio-resin skin’ (read: plastic) that covers and protects the coal while also giving the back of the phone a flush, uniform look.
Google is using a Bio-resin on top of the aluminum of the Pixel 5’s body to achieve wireless charging. Basically, there is a physical cutout in the aluminum where the coil lives, and this plastic bio-resin sits on top.
— David ImeI (@DurvidImel) September 30, 2020
Google says wireless charging works as normal and can hit up to 10W speeds, just like on the Pixel 4.
While this simple workaround is relatively neat, it made me wonder why Google bothered making an aluminum-bodied phone if it was going to cover it in a plastic-like coating anyway. Google has a bit of a history doing stuff like this too. The Pixel 3, for example, has a glass back partially covered with a matte, plastic-like finish. The orange and white Pixel 4 also cover the glass back with a similar matte finish.
However, Imel explained that Google did have a reason: thinness. The Pixel 5 sports a 4,080mAh battery — the biggest to date in a Pixel device, although not substantially bigger than what other manufacturers offer. Google told Imel that using an aluminum frame with the super-thin bio-resin allowed it to keep the phone at 8mm thick while maintaining a premium feel.
As nice as glass phones are, I haven’t enjoyed the trend of flagships moving towards the ‘glass sandwich’ we see on so many phones now. Glass screen, metal band around the edge, glass back. If you drop a phone like this, it’ll probably break, and glass just doesn’t feel good in your hand. Granted, both these issues can be remedied with a case, but for me, cases add too much bulk.
While we don’t know how well the bio-resin will hold up over time, Google’s ‘aluminum with skin’ approach seems like a win, especially since it maintains wireless charging. Hopefully, we see other manufacturers take similar approaches and move away from glass-back smartphones.
Steve and Alex from Minecraft is the latest character coming to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – The Verge
Nintendo unveiled this morning that Steve and Alex from Minecraft will be added to the character roster in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for the Nintendo Switch. This is the second character announcement in the Fighter Pass Vol. 2 DLC that’s available for $29.99, following Min Min from Arms. There are four new fighters yet to be announced for the DLC.
In the short presentation, a brief preview showed off Steve in action, playing in a special Minecraft-themed stage. Players will be able to play as Steve or Alex, and swap to Enderman, or a Zombie as alternatives. The game’s director, Masahiro Sakurai, explained following the announcement that Steve and the blocky Minecraft style presented a big challenge for the team. He said, “We have to rework all our existing stages so that blocks can be placed in them.”
There will be a broadcast on Saturday, October 3rd at 10:30AM ET / 7:30AM PT that dives deeper on their play styles. That’s when the release date for the characters will be announced, too.
If for some reason you haven’t jumped into the game yet, the first Fighters Pass, available as an add-on for $24.99, added a slew of interesting characters to its already-packed roster. You’ll get Dragon Quest XI’s hero, Banjo-Kazooie, Byleth from Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Joker from Persona 5, and Fatal Fury’s Terry Bogard.
You can rewatch the announcement here (skip to 29:42 for the action).
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC fighter reveal: Start time, how to watch and our predictions – CNET
The Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster is expanding once again, as Steve joins the battle. Nintendo announced the Minecraft star as the eighth downloadable fighter to the Ultimate roster in a three-minute YouTube reveal on Thursday.
Steve is the second fighter in the $30 Smash Bros. Ultimate’s Fighters Pass Vol. 2, after Arms alumni Min Min was announced back in June (that was FOUR months ago, what the…?). The pass is set to include six new fighters, and Nintendo said they’ll be available by the end of 2021.
The previous $25 Fighter Pass included Persona 5’s Joker, Dragon Quest 11’s Hero, Banjo-Kazooie (guh-huh!), Fatal Fury’s Terry Bogard and Byleth from Fire Emblem: Three Houses. They each came with a new stage and music.
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