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What the iPhone 12 needs to win the smartphone wars – Tom's Guide

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Samsung’s latest flagship phones have debuted to strong reviews, with the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra winning particular raves for its responsive S Pen, powerful zoom lens and its dynamic 120Hz display. It sets a pretty high bar for the other flagship phones coming out in the second half of 2020 — particularly for the new iPhone 12 lineup.

So will the initial success of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra cause any sleepless nights in Cupertino, as Apple executives wrestle with how to make the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro standout from rival devices? Not exactly, tech analysts say.

“While the Galaxy Note20 Ultra is extremely impressive, the iPhone ecosystem is quite sticky,” said Avi Greengart, lead analyst at Techsponential. “There is not as much cross-shopping as you might think.”

Still, while the iPhone 12 should still do very well for itself, thank you very much, there’s more than a little pride at stake. None of the major smartphone makers like to cede any amount of buzz about their new devices, even if they’re confident that fans will flock to the new versions. And with the iPhone 12 expected to ship later than usual — Apple has indicated we won’t see the new iPhone in September — there might be some pressure to make up for the Note 20’s head start.

But ultimately, the challenge facing Apple and the iPhone 12 is the same one that faces any device maker a dozen years after the original iPhone reinvented the smartphone market. How do you keep something fresh that’s so familiar? 

Apple unveils the iPhone 11 at last year’s launch event. (Image credit: Josh Edelson/Getty Images)

“Smartphones are a mature category,” Greengart said. “Aside from new form factors like dual-screen or foldables, all updates are iterative.”

These days, Apple may not be able to revolutionize phones the way it did more than a decade ago. But there are plenty of ways that the iPhone 12 can still stand out in a crowded market and maybe even push rivals like the Galaxy Note 20 off to the side.

iPhone 12: The first 5G iPhone

Let’s start with the obvious thing missing from the iPhone, and one of the features Apple is most likely to add. While other phone makers have been putting out 5G phones since 2019 — Samsung released the Galaxy S10 5G more than a year ago — Apple has sat on the sidelines. It’s not like Apple has missed much: 5G networks are still being built out, and consumers have yet to reap the full benefits of faster network speeds and lower latency.

Now that Apple’s throwing its hat into the 5G ring, it’s expected to do so in a big way. All four rumored iPhone 12 models are likely to feature 5G connectivity, so if you buy a new iPhone, you’ll be able to connect to a 5G network.

What the iPhone 12 needs to win the smartphone wars

The Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G has been available since the spring. The iPhone 12 will have some catching up to do. (Image credit: Future)

Or at least, you should be able to. A leak from earlier this year suggested both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Max would only be able to connect to the sub-6Hz flavor of 5G; higher-speed mmWave connectivity used primarily by Verizon would be reserved for the iPhone 12 Pro models. Subsequent rumors have suggested that all iPhone models will support both kinds of 5G. And that’s a smart decision — if Apple’s 5G debut is to be a success, it needs to make those phones available to the widest audience possible.

Early 5G phones were very expensive, with prices regularly topping $1,000. That’s come down a bit in recent months, especially as Android phone makers have been able to take advantage of the less expensive Snapdragon 765 mobile processor and its built-in 5G modem to release 5G that cost $600 or less.

The iPhone 12 likely won’t be that inexpensive. But the fact that Apple will apparently release four different 5G iPhones means that there will be models available at a wide range of prices.

iPhone 12: Getting the price — and size — right

Speaking of price, if there’s one lesson Apple’s learned in the past year, it’s that people rarely pass up an opportunity to buy a cheaper iPhone. Apple actually saw a modest increase in iPhone sales during its June quarter in spite of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic closing the company’s retailer stores and would-be upgraders likely holding out for new iPhones in the fall. Much of the credit for that growth goes to the iPhone SE 2020, Apple’s $399 device, which proves that people still like an iPhone with a low price and a compact size. 

What the iPhone 12 needs to win the smartphone wars

The iPhone SE proves there’s still an audience for compact phones. (Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

It’s not just the iPhone SE. Since the $699 iPhone 11 made its debut last fall, it’s been Apple’s most popular model, as shoppers look for a viable alternative to a $999 iPhone.

That’s likely to continue with the iPhone 12, at least based on rumors about the new iPhone’s prices. The iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max are expected to keep the respective $999 and $1,099 price tags of their predecessors. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Max will be the low-cost alternatives, with rumored price tags of $649 and $749, respectively. That not only gives people a way to save money from the iPhone 12 Pro, it’s also hundreds of dollars less than the flagships Samsung has put out this year.

If Apple releases a 5.4-inch iPhone, as has been widely rumored, that will fill a niche that nobody else is targeting for small premium phones.

— Avi Greengart, Techsponential

Just as important as price, though, is size. While phone screens are getting ever larger — you can’t get a Galaxy S20 or Note 20 that’s smaller than 6.2 inches — there’s still a segment of the phone-buying population that covets compact devices. The $649 iPhone 12 is rumored to be addressing that demand with a 5.4-inch screen, which could wind up on our best small phone list. And that will help Apple’s new phone stand out, Greengart said.

“If Apple releases a 5.4-inch iPhone, as has been widely rumored, that will fill a niche that nobody else is targeting for small premium phones,” he added.

iPhone 12 display: Embracing 120Hz

Apple may boast the fastest phones, thanks to its A13 Bionic chipset. (The even faster A14 is all but certain to power the iPhone 12.) But some Android phones have gotten in another area where Apple has stood still — they feature displays with faster refresh rates.

All three Samsung Galaxy S20 models released earlier this year feature displays that refresh at 120Hz; the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra does that spec one better by dynamically adjusting its refresh rate based on how you’re using the phone. And those aren’t the only Android devices with faster refreshing screens — the Pixel 4 lineup boasts a 90Hz refresh rate while both the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro have faster refresh rates, too.

What the iPhone 12 needs to win the smartphone wars

The dynamic 120Hz display on the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has proven to be one of that phone’s most distinctive features. (Image credit: Future)

Meanwhile, Apple’s iPhones are stuck at 60Hz refresh rates, the standard for smartphones these days. That means while owners of other phones are enjoying more immersive experiences like smoother scrolling and better gameplay.

“High refresh rate displays are becoming a feature consumers look for at the high end of the market,” Greengart said. “Apple has plenty of experience with this. The iPad Pro has offered one for years.”

But will the iPhone 12? Of the new models coming out this fall, it would seem like the iPhone 12 Pro were the most likely to adopt 120Hz refresh rates, though more recent rumors have thrown cold water on that speculation. It seems like something Apple will need to add sooner rather than later or risk having the iPhone fall behind the competition, at least when it comes to displays.

iPhone 12 cameras: What else is new?

The iPhone has long been considered one of the best camera phones, and that’s unlikely to change with the iPhone 12. Still, other phone makers have stepped up their game, both in terms of camera hardware and software. On the hardware front, we’re particularly impressed by the Space Zoom lens on the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, and its ability to produce some pretty clear images with its 50x zoom. On the software side of things, it’s Google that often sets the standard for computational photography.

So how does Apple respond? Based on the rumors we’ve heard about the camera arrays on the various iPhone 12 models, we’re unlikely to see advances like a dramatically improved telephoto lens. Apple’s software innovations have a way of sneaking up on us — who knew about Smart HDR and Deep Fusion until Apple explained how those features make for better, more detailed photos? So we could be surprised by some similar innovation when Apple shows off its new phones in a month or so.

What the iPhone 12 needs to win the smartphone wars

The iPhone 12 Pro may get a LiDAR sensor to join its other rear cameras. (Image credit: svetapple)

One possible new feature headed to the iPhone 12 Pro phones will be a LiDAR sensor similar to the one on the iPad Pro. This extra lens will be able to gauge distances more quickly and accurately than time-of-flight sensors, which should improve portrait shots taken by the iPhone 12 Pro. But a more compelling use would be with augmented reality and iPhone AR apps that could tap into the LiDAR sensor to more accurately measure the distance of real-world objects. 

Expect Apple to spend a lot of time explaining the benefits of LiDAR at its iPhone 12 launch event, and maybe even invite some app makers on stage to show how their software takes advantage of the new hardware.

iPhone 12 outlook

Apple rarely takes notice of what other phone makers are doing, opting to go in its own direction. Given the volume iPhones Apple has sold to date, you’d have a hard time arguing with that strategy.

“The reason to buy an iPhone 12 will be the same reason people bought an iPhone XS or iPhone 11 — it’s an iPhone,” Greengart said. “Apple’s processors outperform the competition. Apple’s imaging, networking, and displays should be competitive. But the iOS ecosystem and user experience is unique.”

Still, the iPhone 12 arrives at a unique time. Apple’s new phones will debut later than usual — perhaps even after Google’s upcoming Pixel 5 if rumors of a Sept. 30 release for that phone pan out. The economic fallout from coronavirus may make people resistant to shelling out big bucks for a new phone, even one from Apple. And Android phones — the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, in particular — have upped their game in an effort to challenge Apple.

There are plenty of ways Apple can raise the bar for smartphones yet again with the iPhone 12. We’ll find out exactly how when Apple is ready to unveil its latest phones.

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Apple’s Battle Royale With Epic Games About to Start for Real – Bloomberg

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The legal fight between Apple Inc. and Epic Games Inc. kicks into full gear on Monday with decisions that will influence the future of app stores in the U.S. and how the world’s largest technology platforms make money from developers.

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers will decide whether to force Apple to let battle royale video game Fortnite back into the App Store with Epic’s in-house payment option. She will also rule if Apple can block third-party apps using Epic’s Unreal Engine development software.

Most legal experts expect the judge to extend her temporary injunction for Unreal Engine, but not reinstate Fortnite in the Apple App Store.

“Epic faces an uphill battle,” said Mark Lemley, a professor at Stanford Law School. “Apple’s pricing policies are problematic, and antitrust law should probably do something about it. But courts are very reluctant to dictate who a company, even a monopolist, has to do business with.”

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Character actors from the Epic Games Inc. Fortnite video game dance during the E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Tuesday, June 11, 2019.

Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

The decisions will have far-reaching consequences especially as authorities across the globe examine whether tech giants including Apple and Alphabet Inc.’s Google have broken antitrust rules. On Monday, the judge will consider if Epic is likely to succeed on the merits of its antitrust claims and whether the company will suffer irreparable harm if she doesn’t issue an injunction.

At stake is Apple and Google’s ability to charge fees of up to 30% to developers using their app stores. Consumers spent $50 billion worldwide on the App Store and Google Play in the first half of 2020, according to Sensor Tower estimates. That generates billions of dollars in highly profitable revenue for the companies. Some developers deride this an unfair and unwarranted tax. Epic and its Founder Tim Sweeney have led the backlash this year.

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Tim Sweeney, CEO and founder of Epic Games

Photographer: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Google may change its policies if the Fortnite case ends up favoring Apple, said Lewis Ward, an analyst at researcher IDC. No matter the outcome, Epic has gained a lot of goodwill among gamers and other developers.

“In the larger court of public opinion, in the U.S., my sense is that Epic is generally viewed as the good guy here, and Apple is viewed as the bad guy,” Ward said.

“It has raised the profile of Epic from an already well-respected game company to one that has a philosophy or a vision of where the games industry should go over time,” Ward added. “That vision is one that is more aligned with how the internet began, which was open and free and cheap.”

Read more: Epic’s Battle With Apple and Google Has Roots in the Pac-Man Era

The impact on Epic’s business so far has been “fairly negligible,” said Doug Clinton, co-founder at Loup ventures — tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue. While players can no longer download Fortnite on their Apple devices, many of them have simply shifted their playing to consoles and PCs. Fortnite climbed SuperData’s rankings of top-grossing titles among console games in August, reaching third place. It ranked sixth in July, before the legal spat between Epic and Apple began.

Financially, Apple doesn’t have much to lose by kicking Fortnite out. The company has taken in about $350 million in revenue from Fortnite since the game launched on the iPhone in 2018, according to Sensor Tower data. Apple pulled in sales of more than $250 billion in its latest fiscal year.

Read more: Spotify, Match Launch Coalition to Protest App Store Rules

If the court forces Apple to keep distributing Unreal Engine, that could be positive for the iPhone maker. The decision would let other games that use the tools continue distributing their software via Apple’s platform, resulting in a 30% cut for each sale or in-app purchase. However, Apple argues that the continued distribution of Unreal Engine by what it considers to be a rogue developer could harm consumer security.

There are broader risks for Apple from the case, though. If Epic continues to paint Apple as the bad guy to younger iPhone and iPad owners who play Fortnite, that could twist the perception of these users toward Apple as a whole. If Epic wins key decisions, that would make it more difficult for Apple to impose its App Store payment system on other developers, curbing a high-margin source of revenue.

The lawsuit might also spur Apple to continue tweaking its store. While the company isn’t budging on its 30% cut, it has loosened some restrictions recently, letting a small handful of apps avoid the fee.

Read more: Apple Loosens App Store Rules a Bit After Developer Backlash

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    How to Find Latitude and Longitude Coordinates Using Google Maps – How-To Geek

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    As one of the most powerful mapping tools available, Google Maps has a number of features designed to help you pinpoint your location. If you want to know your exact position, you can pull up your GPS coordinates in Google Maps.

    You can get coordinates on all platforms, including the Google Maps website, as well as the Google Maps app for Android, iPhone, and iPad.

    Use the Google Maps Website to Find Coordinates

    You can easily find the GPS coordinates (showing the latitude and longitude) for a location using the Google Maps website. These steps work for Maps in any web browser, not just Google Chrome.

    To do this, search for a location in the search bar at the top of the Google Maps website, or use your mouse to zoom in on a location on the visible map. Once you’ve nailed down a location, right-click it to bring up an additional options menu.

    From the pop-up menu, select the “What’s Here?” option.

    Right-click a location in Google Maps, then press "What's here?" to view the coordinates.

    The button will bring up a small location box at the bottom of the page. You’ll see a series of numbers under the location.

    The coordinates for Buckingham Palace, London, shown on the Google Maps website

    These are your GPS coordinates, shown as decimal degrees. If you wanted to search for this location in Google Maps again, you could search for these coordinates in the search bar.

    Google Maps would then display the location for you to find more information about, or to help you create a custom map showing directions and other areas of interest around it.

    RELATED: How to Create a Custom Map in Google Maps

    Use the Google Maps Mobile App to Find Coordinates

    You can also use the Google Maps mobile app for Android, iPhone, and iPad to locate the exact GPS coordinates for any location worldwide. The steps for Android and Apple users are similar, but the iPhone and iPad have an additional step to follow.

    To find GPS coordinates, open the Google Maps app on your smartphone or tablet. You can use the search bar to find a general location or use the map view to locate it manually.

    If you’re using the map view, you’ll need to long-touch and select an unmarked location until a red pin appears.

    The coordinates will be displayed in the Google Maps for Android search bar when you drop a pin.

    The GPS coordinates for the Welsh Parliament, UK in the Google Maps app on Android.

    You’ll need to tap the “Dropped Pin” box at the bottom of the Google Maps app for iPhone and iPad.

    This screen appears after you’ve dropped a red pin onto the map view.

    Tap the "Dropped Pin" box after dropping a red pin in Google Maps on iPhone or iPad.

    Tapping “Dropped Pin” will bring up an information menu with the location address, as well as options to save or find directions to the location.

    The coordinates for the location will be listed under the address at the bottom of the menu.

    The coordinates for the Welsh Parliament, UK, as shown in the Google Maps app on iPhone.

    RELATED: How to View and Delete Your Google Maps History on Android and iPhone

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    Coronavirus: Third of tests in England 'not linked' to new NHS app, developers suggest – Sky News

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    The developers of the new NHS coronavirus tracing app have admitted that more than 60,000 tests carried out in England yesterday – just under a third of the total – cannot be linked to its systems.

    The admission appears to undermine the central role of the software, which is to warn people when they have come into contact with anyone who subsequently tests positive.

    The long-awaited NHS coronavirus contact-tracing app launched on Thursday across England and Wales.

    Image:
    This was the NHS app response to the issue, raised by a user on Twitter

    However, in a response to a tweet by a user who said they had been tested but could not upload the result because they had not received a code, the app’s developers said it is not linked to test results processed in a Public Health England lab or NHS hospital.

    “If your test took place in a Public Health England lab or NHS hospital, or as part of national surveillance testing conducted by the Office for National Statistics, test results cannot currently be linked with the app whether they’re positive or negative,” they wrote.

    Official government figures show a total of 210,275 people were tested in England on Friday, including 61,481 in hospitals and PHE labs (Pillar 1) and 148,894 in testing centres (Pillar 2).

    The admission on the app’s official Twitter account means the results of just under a third (29%) of the tests carried out a day after the app went live could not be linked.

    More from Covid-19

    A Department of Health spokesperson said: “We are urgently working to enable positive tests for people who aren’t already given a code to be added to the COVID-19 app.

    “NHS Test and Trace will continue to contact people by text, email or phone if your test is positive advising you to self-isolate and for those who don’t have a code, the contact tracers will shortly be able to provide codes to insert in the app.

    “If you book your test via the app the results will be automatically recorded in the app and the isolation countdown will be updated.”

    Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth questioned the issue on social media.

    The shadow health secretary tweeted: “We all want to see this app succeed. We’ve encouraged people to download it.

    “But have they really launched an app that doesn’t actually link to tests carried out by NHS hospital labs & PHE labs instead only including tests carried out via the outsourced lighthouse lab network??”

    The Welsh government pointed out that Public Health Wales results can be processed and urged people to continue using the app.

    Posting on Twitter, Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething urged people “shouting” that the app is “useless” to “please calm down”.

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock has called the new mobile phone app an “important step forward” in the UK’s fight against COVID-19.

    The app includes a link to enter a code which people receive via email or text message from the testing service if they have tested positive for COVID-19.

    It asks users to self-isolate for 14 days if it detects they were in close proximity to someone with coronavirus.

    Those who are tested in a NHS hospital, PHE lab or under one of the surveillance studies, including the ONS, and test positive are currently contacted by NHS Test and Trace contact tracers by text, phone or email.

    Professor Sir Jonathan Montgomery, former chair of the ethics advisory board for the first edition of the app, said: “This is clearly a glitch. I imagine it won’t be that difficult to sort out, and the focus is on making sure the system is integrated.

    “If they book the tests with the system they can feed them back into the app, clearly we haven’t yet got it right in terms of the other parts of the testing system being able to feed in and we would expect that to be sorted pretty quickly.”

    Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran told Sky News: “How on earth can we trust this government with our data with a test-trace isolate system that is meant to be the key to unlocking this country through this pandemic and keeping us all safe, when the very basics of the information that are meant to be given to this app, we find out over a tweet? It is just bizarre.”



    A person on the NHS coronavirus contact tracing app, which Isle of Wight residents have been getting their hands on, as the island plays the role of guinea pig to the technology which is hoped to enable at least a partial return to normal life.




    Is long-awaited test and trace app up to the job?

    Sky’s political correspondent Rob Powell said: “This could be a fairly serious blow to what was touted obviously by the prime minister as a world-beating test and trace system.

    “To add insult to injury, this appears to be an England-only issue.”

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