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Two smart iPhone X features revealed ahead of launch

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 14 Oct 2017 13:03

Two smart iPhone X features revealed ahead of launch The iPhone X is one of the most anticipated smartphones is years. First major revamp in the iPhone design in three years, and first of its kind ever.

There's was a lot to talk about a month back for Apple at the Steve Jobs Theater as pretty much the entire smartphone had been redesigned ground up. It might have not been just a case of limited time but Apple probably wanted to keep some features under wraps for the launch, or to be unveiled during the waiting period.

Now, two features previously not revealed have surfaced. And they are pretty impressive.

First there's a feature that combines iOS notifications and the new TrueDepth camera. As you turn on the display you'll see the app notifications, just like you would on your iPhone 8 or iPhone 7.

However, Phone Arena has discovered that on iPhone X the Face ID camera detects whether it is you holding the phone and shows further information instead of showing just the name of the app.


AfterDawn: News

Reddit thread showing iPhone X running Pokémon GO sparks discussion about screen estate

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Oct 2017 17:15

Reddit thread showing iPhone X running Pokémon GO sparks discussion about screen estate There's still almost a month until Apple's hyped iPhone X will hit the Apple Stores – and Town Squares, *sigh*. Since there's been an unprecedented amount of time between the unveiling and release of iPhone X, people have been paying close attention to all the pictures posted online.

One of them is a picture showing an iPhone X users playing Pokémon GO on the streets of perhaps Cupertino. Likely held by an Apple employee, this iPhone X revealed on Reddit shows how not all screen estate is in use, contrary to the way you'd probably want it to be.

Obviously its just a pre-production model, and only one app, but it does spark an interesting discussion about what type of concerns people have with the new aspect ratio.

Of course iPhone X's screen is the first time iOS device has a 2.17:1 aspect ratio – close to 2:1 aspect ratio in many Android phones – which means that apps need to be customized for it if they want to use all that extra space. As this picture shows at least Pokémon GO, one of the more popular mobile games, does not take advantage of this and there's a visible forehead and chin.


AfterDawn: News

T-Mobile adds another limit to its 'unlimited' data plans

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Oct 2017 16:44

T-Mobile adds another limit to its 'unlimited' data plans As with most, if not all, so-called unlimited data plans the T-Mobile ONE and T-Mobile ONE Plus are limited in some ways. You will get unlimited amount of data but after a certain cap the service provider will slow down the connection or throttle.

With T-Mobile ONE and ONE Plus the limit is 50 gigabytes. After using the 50GB of LTE data you'll likely be slowed down to a crawl, especially during the more congested hours.

After unveiling a new 'Mobile Without Borders' deal in 2015 to all ONE and ONE Plus customers, you've been able to enjoy that oh so sweet LTE data abroad in Mexico and Canada. For now.

T-Mobile is going to limit LTE data further, and starting next month customers with T-Mobile ONE and ONE Plus plans only get 5 GB of guaranteed LTE data in Mexico and Canada. After that you'll be throttled to 256kbps connection with ONE Plus and 128kbps with ONE, BGR reports.

According to T-Mobile less than one percent use more than 5 GB of data on their trips abroad. The company is trying to "prevent usage beyond the intent of the product" with the new 4G LTE limit.

The limits go into effect on November 12.

AfterDawn: News

A new nerd phone promises true, open Linux and security

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 11 Oct 2017 16:20

A new nerd phone promises true, open Linux and security A group of open source advocates started a few years back a company called Purism. The idea behind the company was to attain crowdsourcing for a new type of computer and operating system, known as PureOS. Now the same company has decided to develop a smartphone.

Like the computer the new smartphone, called Librem 5, runs PureOS, a Linux-based operating system. Purism markets the phone as the truly pure GNU+Linux-based smartphone product.

While Android is based on Linux too, PureOS is based on GNU free software and Debian Linux distribution and is entirely open source. This means that Librem 5 owners can, for example, change the Linux distribution to something else if they don't like PureOS.

In addition to being the holy grail of nerd smartphones with a proper Linux operating system, Purism hypes the security aspects of the phone. According to the company because of the open source nature of the operating system it is completely transparent. Thus you'll never be snooped through hidden backdoors, and your information won't be used to profit the manufacturer.

Librem 5 has been succesfully crowdfunded via the company's website. As of writing this it has $1,612,858 in funding which is 107.52% of the $1.5 million goal, and there are still 12 days to go.


AfterDawn: News

Dow Jones fake news reported Google buying Apple

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 11 Oct 2017 13:24

Dow Jones fake news reported Google buying Apple Fake news is clearly the meme of the year, and while it might be often thought to infect mostly politics a new case has made stock markets react. Dow Jones Newswire, the news service designed for investors, reported a what would be the acquisition of the century.

According to CNBC Dow Jones reported yesterday that Google was going to buy Apple. The fact of course is that no such thing is going to happen, and no investor would believe such an extraordinary thing without checking another source first.

Obviously, when true, news like these have a huge effect on investors and stock markets, and even though some bots sold and bought stocks because of the news, fortunately this didn't end in a catastrophe.

Perhaps the news was too easily dismissible because the story said Google would pay $9 billion for Apple. Even though it's a large amount of money you'd have to pay probably at least 100 times more for Apple. Apple's market cap is closing on a trillion dollars.

In addition to that there were several other errors that might have hinted at fake news. For one Google would not acquire the likes of Apple but it would instead be the parent company Alphabet.


AfterDawn: News

A new trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been released, watch it here!

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 10 Oct 2017 12:18

A new trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been released, watch it here! Star Wars movie saga is nearing the end, or at least the original nine episodes soon run out. Of course we've seen that Disney is more than willing to spin-off Star Wars in new anthology films.

This December it is time to witness the release of the episode eight, The Last Jedi. Now Disney has released a new official trailer for the upcoming movie.

The trailer features familiar characters, including Luke Skywalker, Leia, Kylo Ren, Finn, Rey, and of course Chewbacca, and show off snippets of epic action and perhaps even teases a few potential monumental plot twists to be experienced.

There's still more than two months until the premiere so you can watch the new trailer over and over again for another 36175 times before you need to shut your phone for the convenience of your fellow moviegoers.

Here, enjoy.


AfterDawn: News

Does iPhone get slower over time?

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 10 Oct 2017 7:16

Does iPhone get slower over time? It doesn't require much googling to find all sorts of conspiracy theories about Apple intentionally slowing down previous iPhone models shortly after the company has released new models.

According to Google Trends, the search term "iPhone slow" increases dramatically shortly after each new iPhone model is released.

However, developers of 3DMark testing suite have looked at their database of test results and found out that the conspiracy theories don't have truth behind them.

The "slowing down" effect is mostly psychological - users know that there's a new model available that runs faster, has better cameras, etc so the current phone they're using, suddenly feels like an outdated one. Obviously, each new iOS version also adds new features that are best suited for new models, making the old phones *feel* slow when the users start using the newly introduced features, with old hardware.

But Futuremark's findings are clear: neither CPU nor GPU processing power hasn't decreased from iOS9 to iOS11 on any of the models that support those operating system versions.


AfterDawn: News

Android manufacturers to abandon new technology to copy Apple's?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 09 Oct 2017 11:14

Android manufacturers to abandon new technology to copy Apple's? If you spent the first half of this year watching closely at smartphone rumors and leaks, you would have thought that an in-screen fingerprint sensor in smartphones this year is an inevitability. If not for iPhone, it's going to be in one or more Android phones by the end of the year.

This might still, of course, hold true but Apple has already chosen a different technology for authentication, and according to a respected analyst it's not the only one.

Apple chose to remove the fingerprint reader from its upcoming flagship phone iPhone X entirely. It has developed a new type of recognition to replace Touch ID called Face ID. Because there's no room for a fingerprint sensor in the front with the new 'bezel-less' display, and perhaps in-screen sensors weren't up to par yet, Apple developed and introduced a face detection system that could be even better.

According to the company it is even more secure, and, since you are wondering, can take into account that you might grow a beard and occasionally wear a hat. Using so-called TrueDepth camera the iPhone X detects your facial features in three dimensions.

All this sounds very sci-fi, and it's not clear how well the technology works because the phone isn't out yet, but according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo Android manufacturers have already made shifts towards the face detection technology. After the iPhone X reveal manufacturers have been contacting face detection firms in unprecedented pace.


AfterDawn: News

If it wasn't clear already, it's now official: Windows phone is dead

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 09 Oct 2017 10:49

If it wasn't clear already, it's now official: Windows phone is dead Microsoft has finally confirmed that it does not intend to release any new smartphones with Windows 10 Mobile or provide software updates for current hardware. To make it as clear as day it means: Windows phones are done with.

Microsoft doesn't entirely abandon current Windows 10 Mobile customers because there will likely be some bug fixes and security patches but nothing new is being implemented. Microsoft has cut the funding as much as it can, and only tries to keep the current customers, mostly business customers, safe from hackers and other security problems.

Even though it was pretty clear a while ago that this is the fate of Windows phones. Now the Windows mobile boss man himself, Joe Belfiore, has revealed that he has changed to using an Android phone.

That if anything should be a sign that it's time to call it a day and move on from Windows phones. Belfiore didn't reveal what phone exactly is he using but it would be funny if it was one of the new Nokias.

According to Belfiore the company tried their everything to lure in more software developers and thus improve the state of their app store. No amount of money or other incentives proved effective, and that is why Microsoft has decided to give in.


AfterDawn: News

BlackBerry just announced a new smartphone, 'Motion'

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 08 Oct 2017 13:39

BlackBerry just announced a new smartphone, 'Motion' It seems like BlackBerry should be a word that is no longer uttered in this day and age, but the company has somehow managed to survive over the past decade while being replaced by superior smartphones.

The Canadian phone manufacturer, originally known as RIM, has had to readjust dramatically by abandoning their own operating system (BlackBerry OS) for Google's Android system, and even moving partly away from their perceived core strength, the physical keyboard.

However, credit where credit is due, it remains almost a miracle that they are still in the business of making smartphones.

Now they've released a new phone called the Motion, CrackBerry reports. BlackBerry Motion is a rather uninspiring looking Android phone but it does come with a few tricks up its sleeve. While the specs are mediocre, including 5.5 inch Full HD display and midrange Snapdragon 625 processor, the software features are why anyone would choose a BlackBerry nowadays.

BlackBerry Motion features a Locker Mode, which allows users to store important documents and other files inside a virtual locker that in order to access them requires a further PIN code to be entered or fingerprint to be scanned. The other new feature, Convenience Key, lets users easily switch between four profiles: Home, Car, Office and User. The profiles can be automatically switched for example with a login to Home or Work WiFi, in-car Bluetooth, or synced meetings.


AfterDawn: News

Google announces new approach with Fiber in Louisville and San Antonio

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 08 Oct 2017 13:15

Google announces new approach with Fiber in Louisville and San Antonio Google has been slowly but surely expanding its fiber optic internet, aptly called Google Fiber, around the country. Originally started in Kansas City, the fiber connection is now available in ten locations, and two more are already on their way.

The next two, Louisville and San Antonio, are going to be, however, somewhat different. Google is trying out a new way of offering the fiber package. Unlike previous installments of Google Fiber, the cities in Kentucky and Texas will only be having the superfast internet (up to gigabit) without the TV add on service.

According to an official blog post by Google's Head of Sales and Marketing Cathy Fogler this is due to the fact that people are moving away from the traditional TV format and towards more control over how, when, and where they view the content. Of course Fogler specifies the new YouTube TV service but also recognized the likes of Hulu and Netflix as the new age of television.

Google also has noticed that more and more customers in current Google Fiber cities are choosing alternative TV or streaming services instead of traditional TV, but for now services in those locations stay as they are.


AfterDawn: News

EU to sue Ireland for billions in Apple taxes

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 07 Oct 2017 11:58

EU to sue Ireland for billions in Apple taxes European Union has decided to sue Ireland for not collecting taxes on Apple. Ireland had 12 months to recover taxes that were unfairly avoided by Apple. The bill totals at $15.3 billion and was originally due on January 3rd.

While Ireland claims that the decision is unnecessary, the EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager told Bloomberg that member states need to pursue the money effectively even when it can be very complex in some cases.

EU had a long-lasting investigation into Apple's tax rate that lead into discovering unfair benefits granted by Ireland that reduced the effective tax rate of Apple's subsidiary to mere 0.005 percent. Thus Apple avoided paying nearly all the corporate tax.

The EU Commission considers the situation to be an illegal advantage until resolved. The tax deal allows Apple to get unfair advantage compared to other companies whom are not offered the same tax breaks. This is considered to be a state aid that are forbidden and illegal in the EU.

Apple has continued to have a strong relationship since the 80s with Ireland where many of its European operations are centralized.


AfterDawn: News

Tesla semi-truck reveal pushed back to November

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 07 Oct 2017 11:21

Tesla semi-truck reveal pushed back to November Tesla CEO Elon Musk told last month that the upcoming semi-truck will be revealed late October. Now, the front man of both Tesla and SpaceX has pushed the event back a little bit.

Originally unveiling of "the beast" was meant to be 26th of October but after issues with Model 3 as well as a possible new initiative with Puerto Rico the semi-truck event has been pushed back to mid November.

Elon Musk says the new date is November 16th, as Tesla is "diverting resources to fix Model 3 bottlenecks and increase battery production for Puerto Rico and other affected areas."

Puerto Rico's officials have engaged Elon Musk on Twitter about replacing the hurricane devastated island's energy supplies with Tesla powered battery and solar systems.

Analysts expect the semi to hit the streets in 2020 and cost $100,000 with additional costs for replacing batteries.

AfterDawn: News

Clips is an AI camera developed by Google

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 06 Oct 2017 12:19

Clips is an AI camera developed by Google Google introduced a new type of product this week. It's a camera that employs one of their core fields of expertise, AI, and decides for you when to record video and snap pictures.

Creepy, right? Well, it might be if you are extremely worried about privacy but the ease of use and smarts it has inside might win you over, especially you have kids or a puppy, according to Google.

You just set it up on the table, strap it on your kids stroller, or take it with you to the dog park. As long as you point it towards the subject you'll automatically get pictures and video on your mobile device (read: Pixel smartphone's Google Photos).

Everything is done under the hood thanks to AI and machine learning. The camera has a custom processor developed by Movidius called Myriad 2, The Verge reports. The so-called VPU, or visual processing unit, takes over all the calculations instead of having to transmit it to cloud processing.

This saves battery and makes the product more secure and privacy oriented than other AI applications that need to transfer data constantly.

As The Verge notes, this type of specialized processing units are becoming more and more popular among consumer electronics. Not long ago Apple introduced a neural engine on the new A11 chipset inside new iPhones, and soon Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei is set to unveil their newest flagship which they promise is going to deliver impressive AI features.


AfterDawn: News

Netflix also raises prices in Europe

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 06 Oct 2017 3:06

Netflix also raises prices in Europe While we reported yesterday that Netflix is raising its prices in United States, the company didn't say anything about prices in Europe.

However, now it seems that prices have been raised in several European markets, too.

Reports from Finland and Ireland show that the pricing has gone up for both Standard and Premium plans.

The cheapest option, Basic plan, remains at €7.99 in both countries, but the Standard plan has increased from €9.99 to €10.99. The Premium plan that allows four streams to be watched simultaneously and supports UltraHD, has increased from €11.99 to €13.99.

Netflix price Europe 2017
Netflix prices in Ireland for new customers - 6th of October, 2017

Netflix hasn't contacted its existing customers yet about the price hike and it is unclear when the prices will change for those customers. Previously Netflix has kept the old prices for existing customers for quite a long time, but yesterday's announcement made no such concessions to the U.S. customers.


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