Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Craig Federighi Says Apple Intends to Address APFS Support for Fusion Drives 'Very Soon'

Apple is planning to share news on APFS support for Fusion Drives "very soon," Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi told MacRumors reader Jonathan in an email this afternoon. 

Federighi shared the detail after Jonathan sent him an email asking whether or not APFS was still in the works for Fusion Drives, which combine a hard drive with flash storage to provide the speed of an SSD with the affordability of a standard hard drive. Fusion Drives are used in iMacs and Mac mini machines.

In response to Jonathan's question, Federighi gave a short but enticing answer, which we verified:
Hi Jonathan,

We intend to address this question very soon...


- craig
With the launch of macOS High Sierra, Apple introduced a new Apple File System for Macs that have all-flash built-in storage. At the time macOS High Sierra was introduced, Apple said that the initial release of the software would not allow Fusion Drives to be converted to APFS, but confirmed APFS support would be coming at a later date.

Since then, iMac and Mac mini owners who have Fusion Drives have been eagerly waiting for Apple to implement support for the feature, but in update after update, no APFS support for Fusion Drives has materialized.

Federighi's statement suggests that APFS will be added as a feature in an upcoming software update, perhaps the macOS 10.14 update that's expected to be unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

For those unfamiliar with the new Apple File System, it's a more modern file system than HFS+ and has been optimized for solid state drives. It is safe and secure, offering crash protection, safe document saves, stable snapshots, simplified backups, strong native encryption, and more.

Apple Supplier TSMC Begins Production on Processors Destined for 2018 iPhones

Apple supplier TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) has started production on the next-generation 7-nanometer A12 chips that will be used in the 2018 iPhone lineup, reports Bloomberg. 

TSMC in late April announced that its 7-nanometer process node has entered into high volume manufacturing, but did not specify that it was working on the Apple A12 processors set to be built into the iPhones that are expected in September.

The new 7-nanometer chips will offer approximately 40 percent power and area benefit over the 10-nanometer process used for the A11 processors in the 2017 iPhones. As Bloomberg says, the chips will be smaller, faster, and more efficient.

TSMC is believed to be the sole partner Apple is working with on the A12 chip. TSMC was also Apple's only supplier for the A11 chips in the iPhone X, 8, and 8 Plus.

All three of Apple's 2018 iPhones are expected to adopt the A12 chips that are currently in development. Rumors suggest Apple is working on a second-generation 5.8-inch OLED iPhone that's a successor to the iPhone X, a larger 6.5-inch OLED iPhone that can be thought of as an "iPhone X Plus," and a lower-cost 6.1-inch LCD iPhone.

Along with A12 chips, all three are expected to include a TrueDepth camera system for Face ID capabilities and an edge-to-edge design with minimal bezels and no Home button.

Nintendo starts selling cheaper Switch bundle without dock in Japan

Nintendo is now selling a cheaper Switch package in Japan that doesn't include the TV dock. The “Switch 2nd Unit Set” is ostensibly aimed at households that already have a Switch hooked up to the family TV and therefore don't need a second dock, but it could also be an option for players who only plan to use the system as a handheld device.
The 24,980-yen ($226) bundle comes with the Switch tablet, two Joy-Con controllers, and two Joy-Con strap attachments, meaning you're saving 5,000 yen (~$45) on the regular Switch package. It's not just the dock that's excluded, though — the Joy-Con Grip and HDMI cable are obvious exclusions, but the lack of an AC adapter will be a bigger problem for anyone who doesn't already have one. The dock and...
Continue reading…

IBM built a handheld counterfeit goods detector

Just a month after IBM announced it's leveraging the blockchain to guarantee the provenance of diamonds, the company has revealed new AI-based technology that aims to tackle the issue of counterfeiting -- a problem that costs $1.2 trillion globally.... read more

Edge Sense is maturing with HTC’s U12+

Edge Sense has always been a gimmick — but who can blame HTC for embracing a gimmick. The company’s mobile division has been struggling in recent years, so why not embrace the novelty of a squeezable side input? The tech got a bit more support when Google embraced it for the Pixel 2, renaming it Active Edge in the process. 
With today’s announcement of the U12+, HTC is introducing Edge Sense 2. The company promised it would keep updating the feature, and this new flagship is starting to making it that much more compelling. The second generation doesn’t make it an essential feature, but some key additions point to how more sensors on the sides of the handset could turn it into more than just a glorified additional button for the phone.
Some of the coolest additions here are the ability for the phone to recognize which hand is holding it and adapt the interface accordingly. When held in a single hand, the feature offers up multiple options, including the ability to lock screen orientation for video viewing and squeezing to take photos or shoot video. And, that functionality is customizable, meaning users won’t get locked into a devoted Bixby button-style situation here.

Also worth noting on the Edge Sense front is that HTC has swapped out the mechanical buttons on the side of the phone, moving instead toward haptic feedback. It takes a little getting used to, but the upshot is that it helps keep the phone that much more water-resistant, and fewer moving parts means less opportunity for breakage — always a good thing.
As far as the other ways HTC is working to distinguish its latest flagship, the six-inch handset retains the “Liquid Surface” design language found on the U11. The glossy service is even more aesthetically distinct this time out, with the addition of the Translucent Blue color scheme, which offers a cloudy and colorful peek into the phone’s innards.

The camera deserves mention here, too. Granted, it’s a tough place to distinguish your handset these days, but the U12+ scored a 103 from DxOMark, which puts it ahead of the rest of the handset market, save for the Huawei P20 Pro with its ridiculous three cameras. Highlights for its two cameras include super-fast autofocus and HDR Boost 2 for improved images in poor lighting conditions.
HTC’s made a point of upping its game on the audio front, and that continues here with loud built-in speakers and a pair of active noise-cancelling earbuds. Inside is a Snapdragon 845, coupled with 6GB of RAM and up to 128GB of storage. All in all, it’s looking like a solid handset.
There’s no notch on the screen this time out, but the company implied in a meeting that that’s something likely to arrive on the next-gen flagship. The phone goes up for pre-order today and will start shipping early next month. No word on pricing yet, but HTC tells me it won’t be “dramatically different” than its predecessor.

How to Request a Copy of Your Apple ID Account Data

Apple now allows its customers to download a copy of their personally identifiable data from Apple apps and services. This can include purchase or app usage history, and any data stored on Apple servers, including the likes of calendars, photos, and documents. 

This article outlines the steps you need to take to request a copy of your data from Apple. Apple promises to fulfill all data requests within seven days. Bear in mind that the size of the data download depends on the items that you choose to include, but Apple will divide it into multiple files to make the download more manageable.

How to Request a Copy of Your Apple Account Data

  1. Open a web browser and navigate to
  2. Enter your Apple ID email and password, and authorize two-factor authentication on another device if prompted.
  3. On the Apple ID & Privacy page, click Continue.
  4. Under "Get a copy of your data", click Get Started.
  5. On the next page you'll see a list of data categories. Click the selection box next to each category that you want include in your download. You can refine inclusions from certain categories by clicking Show more to reveal sub-categories of data, or click Select All to include all your information.
  6. Click Continue
  7. Using the dropdown menu on the next page, choose a maximum file size that you want to download (1GB, 2GB, 5GB, 10GB, or 25GB). Apple divides the data into files of this size or smaller. You can review your selection below the dropdown.
  8. Click Complete Request to confirm.
Apple will email you to let you know it is preparing your data, with a reminder that this process can take up to seven days. As a security measure, Apple uses this time to verify that the request was made by you.

You can view and check check the status of your request at any time by visiting

Next Xbox One update finally saves multiple WiFi passwords

Microsoft continues to chip away at software concerns with the Xbox One (work in progress indeed -- can you even recognize the launch UI shown above?), and its latest Alpha test addresses two pain points that have existed practically from the start....

Mobiistar adds two new names to the list of affordable smartphones in India

Vietnam based smartphone maker Mobiistar has made its debut in India with the launch of Mobiistar XQ Dual and Mobiistar CQ budget smartphones in its Selfie Star series. Both the devices will be available exclusively from Flipkart starting May 30.
The Mobiistar XQ Dual has been priced at Rs. 7,999 and the low-end Mobiistar CQ has been priced at Rs. 4,999. The XQ Dual is a selfie focused smartphone and features a dual camera setup up front. The Mobiistar CQ is aimed at first time and low-end smartphone buyers. While the Mobiistar XQ Dual has a fingerprint sensor, the CQ does not sport the sensor, which is alright considering its price.

Mobiistar XQ Dual Specifications

The Mobiistar XQ Dual runs on Android 7.1.2 Nougat and features a 5.5-inch full HD 2.5D curved glass display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, an aspect ratio of 16:9 and Asahi Dragontrail protection. While 18:9 displays are trending these days, Mobiistar has decided to use a 16:9 aspect ratio display for its device.
In terms of performance, the Mobiistar XQ Dual is powered by an octa core Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 SoC coupled with Adreno 505 GPU. In terms of memory, the device features 3GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage which can be further expanded up to 128GB via a microSD card.
Coming to the camera department, the main highlight of the device is its dual camera setup at the front. It features a 13MP primary camera with f/2.0 aperture and an 8MP secondary camera with f/2.2 aperture plus a 120-degree wide-angle lens. At the back, the device sports a 13MP camera with f/2.0 aperture and dual LED flash.
The Mobiistar XQ Dual is powered by a 3,000mAh battery and connectivity options on the device include 4G VoLTE, ViLTE, Bluetooth 4.1 WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS, micro USB port, FM Radio and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Mobiistar CQ Specifications

The Mobiistar CQ is aimed at first time and low-end phone buyers. In India, the device will compete with the likes of Xiaomi Redmi 5A and the Tenor D which have similar specifications. It runs on Android 7.1.2 Nougat and features a 5-inch HD 2.5D curved glass display with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels and an aspect ratio of 16:9.
In terms of performance, the Mobiistar CQ is powered by the quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 SoC coupled with Adreno 308 GPU. In terms of memory, the device features 2GB RAM and 16GB of internal storage which can be further expanded up to 128GB via a microSD card. The Xiaomi Redmi 5A and the Tenor D are also powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 SoC.
Coming to the camera department, the Mobiistar CQ features an 8MP primary camera with LED flash. On the front, the device sports a 13MP secondary camera for selfies. It has seven level beauty mode to help users take proper selfies.
The Mobiistar CQ is powered by a 3,000mAh battery and connectivity options on the device include 4G VoLTE, ViLTE, Bluetooth 4.1, FM Radio, GPS and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Vivo teases a true all-display phone with pop-up camera for June 12th

<em>Scene from Vivo’s World Cup ad.</em>

Vivo is sending out hold-the-date invitations for what looks to be the production version of the Apex concept phone that wowed the world back in February. The Apex, as you might recall, featured three impressive technologies: a pop-up front-facing camera, an edge-to-edge display with a claimed “world’s best” screen-to-body ratio, and an in-display fingerprint sensor that worked anywhere in the lower half of the display. The question is, how much of that gee-whiz tech will make it into the production device being announced in Shanghai on June 12th?
Vivo’s invite hedges a bit by saying it “continues Vivo’s vision with Apex FullView Concept Smartphone.” But we’re also teased with a glimpse of what seems to be the production device in the...
Continue reading…