When Samsung introduced the original Galaxy Z Flip in 2020, it surprised us all with a “one last thing.” The company revealed special editions of the Flip, Galaxy Buds and Galaxy Watch styled by American designer Thom Browne. Since then, every foldable Samsung has launched has come in a special Thom Browne (TB) version. Just 3,500 units of these limited edition bundles are available each time, and according to Browne, “they sell out supposedly in minutes.”
This year, Samsung is offering the Thom Browne bundles of the Fold 3 and Flip 3 for $3,449 and $2,349 respectively. Each box comes with TB-themed versions of the foldable, Buds 2, Galaxy Watch 4, wireless charger trio and a selection of cases and straps. The regular Fold 3, Buds 2, Watch 4 and wireless charger cost $1,799, $150, $250 and $80 respectively, bringing the total to about $2,280, not including the cases and straps. So you’re paying about $1,000 more for the Thom Browne aesthetic.
The packaging for the special edition Fold 3 bundle is extravagant. Each device has its own labelled container and sits in slots carved out inside a giant box. Thankfully, most of the packaging is paper, so I didn’t feel too guilty about the environmental impact. A drawer beneath the devices holds all the accessories, like a pair of TB-themed straps for the watch, a case for the Fold 3 and covers for the Buds 2’s charging case. There’s also a special S Pen Pro in the Fold bundle that’s white with blue and red stripes on the inside.
All the devices have Thom Browne branding on them, and this year’s set features the designer’s signature stripes in red, white and blue. It’s a deliberate selection of colors meant to be an homage to American sportswear, but also acknowledge that it’s an Olympic year.
“The reference to the red, white and blue, and specifically the white with the red trim felt very reminiscent of old Olympics and old Olympics uniforms,” Browne told Engadget. “I love sports, I love athletes, I’ve been so inspired by athletes at that level,” he said. (He’s a swimmer, in case you were wondering. And while we’re in a parenthetical, I’m a thrower.)
But the stripe-centric design and familiar color scheme have always been a part of the Samsung bundles, which Browne said is “something that feels very signature to me.” He’s made sure to keep recognizable elements from his brand on them, because he felt people “would have been disappointed if it were to be approached any differently.”
Not only does the motif appear on the Galaxy devices’ externally, the Fold 3 and Watch 4 also have custom wallpapers in TB themes. The default background on the special edition Fold is covered in the designer’s signature gray-and-white vertical lines with a small postage stamp-esque square in the middle as the clock widget. At the top center of the screen is a small band of the red-white-and-blue pattern that’s reminiscent of a fabric bookmark. System icons and fonts match the overall theme as well.
Though there aren’t any differences in size between the TB edition devices and their standard counterparts, the shiny metal finish on the branded Fold and Watch make them feel sleeker somehow. I also vastly prefer the Thom Browne watch straps to Samsung’s boring, chunky versions. And though there isn’t much room on the buds for the company to add design flourishes, I love that it still managed to paint little strips of red-white-and-blue on each headphone. Though in that shape, they look like color-reversed French flags.
Now that the Thom Browne versions of these devices are in their third iteration, the designer is pretty familiar with the process of coming up with them. Each edition has taken about a year to create, and Browne said that the “most important thing for these collaborations is that you see the best from both parties.”
For Browne, the partnership has been a “really good, very supportive, mutually respectful relationship” that’s lasted over 15 years. Though the special edition foldables have only been around for about two years, Samsung has carried his collections in its stores in the past. But the opportunity to create a Thom Browne version of the original Z Flip was intriguing. Browne said the first phone he ever had was a flip phone, so “it was interesting to me, the idea of that iconic phone being reintroduced, yet, making it a very relevant device for today.”
Though Browne says Samsung has never put any limits on how he wanted to approach his designs for the devices, something he would make if anything was possible would be a phone made from pure gold. “That would be a challenge that I would like to give to Samsung.”
Perhaps because of how content he is with the partnership, Browne said he wouldn’t want to work with any other company in this field. He’s not thinking of making a Thom Browne smartwatch, though he’s open to considering other Samsung products.
Ultimately, the biggest benefit for him is probably visibility. “I hope, in a way, that the phone introduces a lot of new people to the world of Thom Browne.”
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Alberta doctors raise alarm on specialist staff shortages in intensive care wards – Saanich News
The Alberta Medical Association says the province’s high COVID-19 numbers are behind a desperate shortage of specialized staff to care for critical care patients.
“The demand for (intensive care unit) nurses is currently so high that we need to increase the number of patients assigned to each nurse,” the medical association said in a public letter Monday.
“This reduction in staffing ratio is well below our normal standard of care. This will jeopardize the quality of ICU care that we are able to provide.”
The letter was signed by members of the group’s intensive care section.
Alberta’s hospitals and intensive care wards are overwhelmed by critical care patients, most of them stricken with COVID-19. The overwhelming majority are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
Alberta Health Services has been briefing doctors on criteria to use should the health system collapse and they have to make on-the-spot decisions on who gets life-saving care.
Last week, Dr. Paul Parks, the medical association’s head of emergency medicine, said the staffing shortage is affecting care in other ways. Parks said some critical care patients are not being put on available ventilators because there aren’t enough nurses to monitor them.
Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says while typical ICU care is one nurse per patient, an alternative model, known as a hub, is being used to adapt to the pandemic while ensuring care is delivered.
Each hub includes one or two trained intensive care nurses and two to four registered nurses.
“This model partners registered nurses from other areas with existing trained ICU (nurses) to expand the availability of the critical-care nursing skill set to more patients,” said Williamson in an email.
“ICU patients are never cared for by nurses alone. Whole teams work with nurses in ICU, including respiratory therapists and many others. “
In recent weeks, the province has scrambled to create more ad hoc intensive care beds, effectively more than doubling the normal total of 173 to accommodate 312 patients currently receiving critical care.
Staff have been reassigned, forcing mass cancellations of surgeries, including cancer procedures.
Alberta has asked the federal government for help, and the Canadian Armed Forces has said it will respond with eight more intensive care nurses and air transport to take critically ill patients to other provinces.
Almost two weeks ago, Alberta reintroduced gathering restrictions and brought in proof of vaccination requirements for entry to restaurants, bars, casinos, concerts and gyms to try to reduce spread of the virus.
Daily case counts remain well over one thousand and a growing number of doctors and infectious disease specialists are calling for a “firebreak” lockdown, which would include a shutdown of schools, businesses and other activities.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, in a weekend radio interview, rejected a lockdown. He said it would make “no sense for the 80 per cent of the population that is vaccinated” and who are much less likely to transmit the disease and be hospitalized.
Alberta has lagged behind other provinces in vaccination. Kenney and his United Conservative government have been trying to persuade more people to get their shots by offering $1-million prize draws, other gifts and, more recently, $100 debit cards.
About 73 per cent of eligible Albertans, those 12 and over, are fully vaccinated, while 82 per cent have had at least one shot.
Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley said it’s time to partner with community groups and health-care professionals to go door to door and help those who are not vaccinated due to health or work concerns or a language barrier.
Those groups could be “having conversations and offering Alberta vaccines right there on people’s doorsteps,” Notley said in Calgary.
—Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
Face ID stops working on iPhone 13 after any third-party screen replacements – XDA Developers
Apple just released the iPhone 13 series earlier this month, with four models to choose from: the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max. The phones are a step up from previous models, with smoother displays and enhanced cameras, but the iPhone 13 series appears to be a downgrade from earlier iPhones in at least one regard — Face ID will stop working after anyone except Apple (or an Apple-authorized repair center) replaces your screen.
The below video from Phone Repair Guru (via MacRumors) shows the displays on two iPhone 13 phones being swapped. Even though the displays are genuine Apple parts, and the screen assembly doesn’t contain any components directly related to Face ID, the result is that Face ID no longer works.
It’s not clear at the moment if this is a software bug, or yet another measure against unauthorized iPhone repairs. Apple has become increasingly hostile to third-party repairs over the past few years. Apple has its own Independent iPhone Repair Program, which provides select companies or third-party repair centers with genuine Apple parts and repair manuals. However, an iFixit report from last year pointed out that it can take several months for repair centers to join the program, and Apple often sells parts to repair centers for high prices. In some cases, the cost for parts exceed what Apple would charge to perform the entire repair.
Apple has not yet published a statement about Face ID and third-party repairs. If Face ID is intended to break, it would likely only give more momentum to the ‘Right to Repair’ movement, which has pushed governments around the world to force electronics manufacturers to make replacement parts and repair manuals readily available. U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order in July that called for the FTC to establish guidelines for device repairs, and other countries around the world are in various stages of crafting similar legislation.
Signal, the encrypted messaging app, is currently down for many users (Update: it's back) – Yahoo Canada Shine On
Update 2: Signal is now back up for “99% of users,” according to its Twitter account.
Update: In a tweet, Signal said the disruption is due to a hosting outage.
Signal is down for many users right now. Its status website says the encrypted messaging app is “experiencing technical difficulties” and many people are getting an in-app error message that says the same thing. The company says it is “working hard to restore service as quickly as possible.” TechCrunch has contacted Signal for comment.
Signal’s in-app error message
According to Downdetector.com, users started reporting outages around 11:05 PM Eastern Standard Time this evening, and it appears to be affecting people around the world.
Over the past few months, Signal has continued to build out its feature set, adding a default timer for disappearing messages that automatically applies the settings to all new conversations.
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