A Larger iPhone 12 Pro In The Making?

Posted by Kirhat | Saturday, July 04, 2020 | | 0 comments »

A Larger iPhone 12 Pro
There is nothing unique with Apple whenever it releases more than one version of its latest iPhone. However, this year's rumored iPhone 12 is expected to come in a mind-boggling four different variants, compared to previous years when Apple would launch two or three versions of its newest smartphone.

Two of those models are expected to be successors to the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. If the reports and rumors so far are to be believed, Apple's next "Pro" iPhone will have a triple-lens camera like last year's models, a Lidar scanner like the new iPad Pro, and a refreshed design among other changes.

Apple is expected to debut its new smartphones in the fall, although there's a chance that some models could debut later than usual because of the coronavirus' economic fallout.

According to Hollis Johnson of Business Insider, Apple is said to be bumping up the screen sizes of its pro-grade iPhones in 2020. One model will reportedly come in a 6.1-inch size, while a larger version is said to come with a 6.7-inch screen. Bloomberg similarly reported that the most expensive new iPhone will come with a screen that's slightly larger than that of the current 6.5-inch iPhone 11 Pro Max.

One of the standout features of the iPhone 12 Pro compared to the standard model is expected to be its Lidar sensor, according to Bloomberg. That sensor, which is already present on the 2020 iPad Pro, is geared toward improving performance in augmented reality apps. It measures the distance between objects by measuring how long it takes for light to reach a subject and reflect back.

Apple will continue to outfit its high-end smartphones with a triple-lens camera, according to reports from Bloomberg and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

That would indicate that Apple is taking a similar strategy in 2020 as it did with last year's iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, which come with a triple lens camera that includes wide-angle, ultra-wide-angle, and telephoto lenses.

The cheaper models are expected to come with only two cameras, much like the iPhone 11.

It may have a screen like the iPad Pro's, with a higher refresh rate and smoother scrolling.

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A New Path to Apple Card Has Been Launched

Posted by Kirhat | Friday, July 03, 2020 | | 0 comments »

Apple Credit
Tech magnate Apple has just launched an interesting new Apple Card program for people who have their credit application declined.

Declined Apple Card applicants may begin seeing notifications on their device later that offer them the Path to Apple Card program. It's an opt-in program that can run for up to 4 months. It leverages the information that Goldman Sachs used to determine their credit worthiness to outline why they were declined and to help them improve the specific financial markers that would make them more likely to get approved next time. Once a user opts in on their device, they get a once-a-month update on their progress on specific tasks that are personalized to their rating.

Examples include:
  • Resolving past due balances.
  • Making payments to secured and unsecured debt accounts on time.
  • Lowering credit card and personal loan debt.
  • The updates also include specific steps to take to improve each of those markers.
Once a customer has completed the program, they are invited to reapply to Apple Card.

On the privacy front, Apple only knows whether when the user have chosen to participate in the program. It does not retain personally identifiable information or know details about the participants' financial situation. Goldman Sachs is also not sharing this data with third parties for advertising or marketing. Pretty much the same deal as the Apple Card itself.

The "payment wheel" inside the card's interface on iOS devices is one of the clearest, most well-made interfaces for any credit card ever offered. The approach Apple takes - an all out effort to make it as easy as possible not to pay interest on purchases unless the user absolutely feel thet they want to - is wildly different from the industry norms.

This additional financial health tool fits well within that overall philosophy. As a side benefit, these steps will doubtless result in an overall credit score improvement for participants.

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As far as 5G smartphone chipsets are concerned, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 865 might be the best known, but there's one issue: It's as expensive as it is powerful. The company's new Snapdragon 690 chipset is a little different — instead of powering new flashy new flagships, it's going into much more reasonably priced phones.

Smartphones that use the high-performance Snapdragon 865, like the OnePlus 8 and Galaxy S20 series, typically cost around US$ 700 and up. The next 5G-capable step down from there, the Snapdragon 765, can usually be found in devices that cost between US$ 500 and US$ 700. Meanwhile, phones with the relatively new, LTE-only Snapdragon 675 typically sell between US$ 300 and US$ 400. Although Qualcomm doesn't produce its own phones and can't confirm what the typical Snapdragon 690 phone will cost, it seems clear that the age of the cheap 5G phone is nearly here.

"Driving the expansion of 5G into the Snapdragon 6-series has the potential to make 5G accessible to more than 2 billion smartphone users around the world," said Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon in a statement.

The big potential caveat here is what kind of 5G this chipset supports. Unlike the Snapdragon 765 and 865, the 690 only places nice with sub-6 5G networks, not the mmWave networks that have some wireless carriers have invested heavily in. (Verizon, Engadget's parent company, owns one such carrier.) This focus on sub-6 is far from unusual, though: The Global Mobile Suppliers Association found in April that only around 30 percent of "all announced 5G devices" support those high-speed mmWave networks.

The world's 5G networks still have a long way to go, so not everyone will get to benefit from them all at once. Snapdragon 690 phones pack other benefits, however: They'll be able to shoot 4K HDR video on the cheap, and can capture still images at resolutions as high as 192 megapixels.

For those concerned about pure horsepower, the chipset's octa-core Kryo 560 CPU should be about 20 percent faster than its predecessor, and the onboard Adreno 619L GPU should handily outgun the one found in the Snapdragon 675.

The most notable performance gain comes thanks to the chipset's improved AI engine, which is reportedly 70 percent faster than the one that came before it. You might be hard-pressed to come up with obvious ways an AI chip could help your daily workflow, but Qualcomm has at least one unexpected example: Zooming and switching between multiple rear cameras while recording video can be noticeably smoother. Throw in support for WiFi 6 and displays with 120Hz refresh rates, and it's not hard to the line between midrange phones and their more premium cousins starting to blur.

There's no word on what the first commercially available Snapdragon 690 phone will be, but we at least have a sense of who's going to make these things. HMD Global — stewards of the Nokia brand — have confirmed they're working on a mid-range 5G device using the new chipset, as have LG, Motorola, TCL, Sharp, and the low-profile Wingtech.

Don’t expect to wait much longer, though: Qualcomm says the first of these devices will break cover in the second half of 2020.

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Shopping cart abandonment is defined as a situation where a person shopping online moves away from a site or mobile app before completing a sale. This practice is one of the biggest hurdles to e-commerce, with some 70 percent of all visits with an intention to buy never resulting in actual transactions.

Now, a startup called Zycada is emerging from stealth to help address that, with bot-based technology that speeds up how quickly the interactive elements load up on e-commerce sites. In turn, online retailers - which number somewhere between 12 million and 24 million sites globally - can have sites that work as well or even faster than Amazon, the quintessential bull in the e-commerce shop.

In addition to coming out of stealth, it's announcing US$ 19 million in funding and a new CEO, James Brear, to grow the business.

The round is being led by Kholsa Ventures, with Cervin Venturers and Nordic Eye Venture Capital also participating. Prior to today, according to PitchBook data, it looks like the company had raised just under US$ 11 million in early stage funding, and it's not disclosing its valuation.

But as is the case with a lot of B2B companies, Zycada has not been sitting idle while in stealth: the company has already picked up a number of very large customers, including one of the world's very biggest retailers (which wishes to keep its name out of this story). These businesses are using the technology to speed up their sites, and specifically the interactive elements on their pages such as "buy" buttons. Those large customers are likely one reason it's raised so much money while still in stealth.

The issue that Zycada is tackling is one particular niche of web content delivery called Time to Interactive (TTI).

The idea is that a typical webpage involves a complicated mix of activities and purposes being handled and loaded by content delivery networks, and each of those don't necessarily work in concert with the others.

They range from images, advertisements and interactive buttons through to cookies, analytics and many things that a consumer doesn't "see" but are used by the company to improve what they are providing and to amass data for future activities.

Obviously, in an ideal world all of this would be coming online in the blink of an eye, but realistically what is more often the case is that some of the most critical elements find themselves "queuing" behind others to appear and work for a typical user.

And it turns out that typical users have very little patience online. "Buy Now" really does mean "now". So when something critical like interactive buttons don't appear or don't work for a moment or more, shoppers move on and the site loses a sale.

The worry is that losing a sale really is losing: Zycada estimates that e-commerce sales will be worth some US$ 7 trillion by 2024, from US$ 3.5 trillion in 2018. But with world events like global health pandemics pushing people to shop virtually, if one site doesn't work well, a shopper will simply navigate to another that works better.

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Apple Will Fix One Annoyance Of AirPods

Posted by Kirhat | Thursday, June 25, 2020 | | 0 comments »

Apple AirPods
Owners of Apple's AirPods will have something to be excited about when Apple launches its next major software updates in the fall.

Apple is finally making it easier to switch between devices while wearing AirPods, meaning users won't have to manually connect the wireless headphones when they want to switch from their iPhone to their Mac or iPad.

Apple made the announcement during its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) presentation last 22 June.

Currently, users must navigate to the Bluetooth settings on the device that they would like to switch to while wearing AirPods to jump between supported devices. That means if they're watching Netflix on their iPad but want to switch to their iPhone to take a call or listen to music, they'd have to choose their AirPods from the iPhone's Bluetooth settings.

But when Apple's new software updates for the iPhone, Apple Watch, Mac, and iPad launch this fall, users will be able to switch between devices automatically so long as they're all associated with the same iCloud account.

This feature will only work for the second-generation AirPods and AirPods Pro, not the original AirPods that debuted in 2016. Other Apple headphones like Powerbeats, Powerbeats Pro, and Beats Solo Pro. will also be getting the new automatic switching capability.

Apple has made improvements in the past when it comes to how quickly AirPods are able to connect to devices. It's one of the few differences between the second-generation AirPods that Apple released last April, for example, and the original model. In addition to supporting hands-free Siri access, those newer AirPods were able to connect to devices more quickly than their predecessor, which I noticed when I reviewed them around their launch.

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New COVID-19-Related Features of Apple Watch

Posted by Kirhat | Wednesday, June 24, 2020 | | 0 comments »

Apple Watch New Features
WWDC has always been considered as Apple’s big yearly conference where they announce new features for their line of popular products such as iPhones, Macs, and other devices.

While it was a virtual event (no thanks to the COVID-19 crisis), the tech giant wasn't stingy on announcements.

For workout junkies, the Apple Watch wearable will get new fitness features. What used to be called the Activity app will now be rebranded into Fitness, and will get specialized algorithms for tracking functional strength training, core training, stretching cooldowns, and dance.

Since these movements (especially dance) are complex movements where your wrists are relatively still while your lower body is moving, or vice versa, the Apple Watch algorithms will keep a close eye on its gyroscope, accelerometer, and heart rate sensor so it can track your moves better.

The app itself will also be redesigned, and will look a little more streamlined.

The Apple Watch will finally get sleep tracking, something fans have been clamoring for since the feature began popping up in other wearables.

Like other sleep trackers, the Apple Watch will sense micro-movements during your bedtime and collate them into an app that gives the user an overview of how well (or how badly) they’ve been sleeping. The Watch will also wake the user up, vibrating or chiming at their alarm time. It also links with the user's iPhone to make a customized, "winding down" routine for when they’re about to sleep — launching a meditation app, for example, or playing soothing sounds.

And because handwashing is so important right now, the Apple Watch will now track it. According to The Verge, the mic on the watch will listen for the sound of splashing or running water, and initiate a 20-second countdown so that the user will keep on soaping for the appropriate amount of time.

All these features will come to watchOS7, a software update that will arrive this fall for Apple Watch Series 3. Earlier variants — Series 1 and Series 2 — will not be supported.

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