Thursday, 12 July 2018

Apple stops selling the 2015 MacBook Pro

If you’re in the market for a MacBook Pro that doesn’t exclusively use USB-C ports, you’re out of luck. Today, as noted by 9to5Mac, Apple ceased sales of the 2015 MacBook Pro, its last prosumer laptop to include useful ports, including USB-A, HDMI, and a full-size SD card slot.
The 2015 MacBook Pro was also Apple’s last to feature a traditional keyboard. After its release, the company switched over to a newer butterfly keyboard mechanism that has led to some reliability troubles. Just last month, Apple acknowledged that keys on the keyboards were prone to sticking, repeating characters, and becoming unresponsive, so the company launched a four-year extended service program.
The discontinuation of the 2015 model leaves consumers with a...
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Pokémon Go finally has some competition... two years later

The summer of 2016 was filled with sunshine and pokéballs. Two years ago, Niantic unleashed Pokémon Go on the world, and parks and city streets were filled with people who were trying to catch a Squirtle or Pikachu. And while the fervor has died down quite a bit, the game is still going strong. A steady stream of updates have introduced new monsters, features like co-operative boss battles and real-time weather effects, and more recently, Niantic added the long-anticipated option to trade pokémon.
According to analyst firm Superdata Research, these changes are working. The company says that in May, Pokémon Go’s “player base increased to the highest level since the game’s peak in 2016.” Just this week, 170,000 people traveled to...
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Vivo Nex coming out on July 19 India release starting at Rs. 48,990

After launching the Vivo Nex in China, the company had sent invites for the launch of its flagship device in India on July 19. Now, ahead of the launch, the device has been spotted on Amazon, revealing that it will be priced starting at Rs. 48,990 and will be sold as an Amazon exclusive in India.
The report by MySmartPrice has revealed that the company will launch the premium Nex S variant in India and not the Snapdragon 710 powered Nex A. Additionally, the device will be named as Vivo Nex, instead of Nex S. The timing of this leak is interesting as it has occurred on the same day that Oppo launched its Find X smartphone priced at Rs. 59,990.
Apart from revealing the price of the device, the leak has also revealed that the device will be available to pre-order on Amazon India starting on July 19 at 1 PM.

Vivo Nex Specifications

The Vivo Nex runs on Android 8.1 Oreo with Funtouch OS 4.0 skinned on top and features a 6.59-inch full HD+ Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2316 x 1080 pixels and an aspect ratio of 19.3:9.
In terms of performance, the Vivo Nex is powered by an octa core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC coupled with Adreno 630 GPU. In terms of memory, the device is expected to be launched in two variants – 8GB RAM + 128GB internal storage and 8GB RAM + 256GB internal storage.
Coming to the camera department, the Vivo Nex features a dual camera setup at the back consisting of a 12MP Sony IMX363 sensor with f/1.8 aperture, 4-axis OIS, dual LED flash and a 5MP secondary camera with f/2.4 aperture. On the front, the device sports a 8MP pop-up selfie camera with f/2.0 aperture.
The Vivo Nex is powered by a 4,000mAh battery with fast charge support. Connectivity options on the device include dual 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 5.0 LE, GPS, 3.5mm audio jack and a USB Type-C port. Apart from the pop-up selfie camera, another USP of the device is its in-display fingerprint sensor.

MacBook Pro 2018 Models Feature a Touch Bar and 'Hey Siri' Support

Apple has confirmed that its new 2018 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models feature support for hands-free "Hey Siri."

From its website, emphasis ours:
Featured on the 13- and 15‑inch models with Touch Bar, the Apple T2 chip includes a Secure Enclave coprocessor that provides the foundation for secure boot and encrypted storage capabilities. It also consolidates many discrete controllers, including the system management controller, audio controller, and SSD controller, into one. And the Apple T2 chip brings a familiar voice to MacBook Pro — Hey Siri is always ready to open apps, find documents, play music, or answer your questions.
This means 2018 MacBook Pro users can say "Hey Siri," instead of clicking on the Siri icon in the macOS menu bar or tapping on the Siri button on the Touch Bar, to activate Apple's virtual assistant on the desktop.

The functionality is enabled by the Apple T2 chip, first introduced in the iMac Pro and now included in the new MacBook Pros.

The T2 chip integrates several previously separate components, including the system management controller, image signal processor, audio controller, and SSD controller, for expanded capabilities on the new MacBook Pro.

For instance, the T2 chip's image signal processor works with the FaceTime HD camera to enable enhanced tone mapping, improved exposure control, and face detection-based auto exposure and auto white balance. On the MacBook Pro, the chip also authenticates and secures Touch ID and Apple Pay.

The T2 chip also features a Secure Enclave coprocessor for secure boot and encrypted storage capabilities.

It's unclear if the iMac Pro will eventually support "Hey Siri" too.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

YouTube launches new tool for finding and removing unauthorized re-uploads

Re-uploading videos on YouTube is a favorite of scammy channels that try to profit from other people’s work. Copyright owners already have a number of ways to protect their content, but today, the service is introducing a new tool that automatically scans every newly uploaded video to check if it’s a re-upload of an existing one or “very similar” to a video that’s already on the site.
It’s worth noting that this new tool, dubbed ‘copyright match,’ won’t work for clips, only full videos. YouTube also notes that it’s important that the creator is the first person to upload the video because the time of the upload is how it shows matches.
When the tool finds a match, the creator can choose what to do. The options here are either doing nothing and feeling flattered that somebody would care about your mediocre cat video, get in touch with the other creator and have a nice chat about what happened, or ask YouTube to remove the offending video (which is probably what most people will opt for).

Now a lot of this sounds like YouTube’s existing Content ID program and while it uses very similar technology underneath, the company stresses that this tool is explicitly meant to recognize unauthorized re-uploads. Content ID, however, is mostly meant for the copyright owners of music and music videos, trailers, and recordings of performances.
Starting next week, the new copyright match tool will roll out to all creators with more than 100,000 subscribers. The company plans to roll it out to a wider base of users over the next few months.

Magic Leap One coming this summer, will run on Nvidia Tegra X2

After a few years of waiting, Magic Leap says it will finally ship its first hardware this summer. The company has already detailed that the Magic Leap One would be shipping the device in 2018, but after scant follow-up it was a little dubious whether they would actually hit that deadline.
In a developer-focused Twitch stream, several Magic Leap employees offered details about the system specs for the augmented reality headset. Right off the bat, the startup noted that the device’s brain will be an Nvidia Tegra X2 system, probably one of the more powerful options for mobile devices, though it is bulky enough that the company needed to build a dedicated hip pack in order to house it.
Still no details on price.

The company has previously discussed that the Magic Leap One is intended for home use though it is mobile.
Plenty of questions still remain, including some critical missing technical details surrounding the display tech being used and how large the device’s field-of-view will be.
The device will utilize hand-tracking and a physical controller and also will support eye-tracking. It’s unclear how these will all interact together and how much will be up to developer preferences.
In a tweet, CEO Rony Abovitz teased other updates coming this week including updates to another unreleased product called Magic Leap Next.

Nikon 1 lineup of mirrorless cameras discontinued

Nikon hasn’t found much success with its efforts to expand from DSLRs into the mirrorless camera market. The company made a halfhearted attempt to chip away at Sony, Panasonic, Olympus, and other mirrorless specialists a few years ago with the Nikon 1 line, but as reported by NikonRumors, the whole series has now been discontinued.
Nikon last updated the line with the J5 in 2015, which seemed like the most appealing product in the Nikon 1 series to that point. But the cameras were foiled by high prices, a one-inch sensor that was smaller than those used by the competition, and a confusing naming scheme.
But despite this long-expected discontinuation, Nikon is rumored to be working on a reset of its mirrorless plans. NikonRumors reports...
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Google’s Gboard keyboard now lets you communicate through Morse code on both Android and iOS

Google today announced that it is bringing Morse code as an input method to Gboard for iOS. The company first integrated Morse code into the Android version of Gboard (in beta form) shortly after its I/O 2018 keynote. Alongside the debut on iOS, Google says it has made numerous improvements to the Android experience, too.
When activated, Morse code fills the keyboard area with two large dot and dash icons. As you tap the icons, word suggestions will appear at the top of the on-screen keyboard just as they do when you’re using the QWERTY version. Google has created a Morse Typing Trainer game that it says can teach users Morse code in under an hour. You can play it on both mobile and desktop.
Tania Finlayson, an assistive tech developer...
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Magic Leap's launching mixed reality headset in the summer

Magic Leap is finally providing more tangible details about the launch of its mixed reality headset. During a developer chat on Twitch, the company revealed that the Creator Edition of its One headset should be available sometime later this summer.... read more

Opera tests an Android in-browser cryptocurrency wallet

Opera is embracing the cryptocurrency movement by testing an Ethereum wallet in its Android mobile browser. It makes Opera the first major browser to add a built-in crypto wallet. You can import an existing wallet or create a new one, and it allows read more...

Monday, 2 July 2018

Control Center Re-arrange in watchOS 5

In watchOS 5, you can rearrange the Control Centre to put the Control Centre features that you use at the top, so they're quicker to access when you swipe up on your Apple Watch.

Unfortunately, there's no way to remove features you don't often use, but you can bury those less desirable options at the bottom of the menu.

  1. Bring up the Control Center by swiping upwards on the Apple Watch's display from the watch face.

  2. Scroll down to the bottom.

  3. Select "Edit."

  4. While the Control Center icons are wiggling, use a finger to pull an icon out of its position and then drag it into a new one.

  5. When finished, tap "Done."
That's all there is to it. It's a simple little function that you might not think to look for, but it can be handy if there are Control Center features that you use on a regular basis because you're able to get to them more quickly.

HTC is no more!

Gather around, campers, and hear a tale as old as time.
Remember the HTC Dream? The Evo 4G? The Google Nexus One? What about the Touch Diamond? All amazing devices. The HTC of 2018 is not the HTC that made these industry-leading devices. That company is gone.
It seems HTC is getting ready to lay off nearly a quarter of its workforce by cutting 1,500 jobs in its manufacturing unit in Taiwan. After the cuts, HTC’s employee count will be less than 5,000 people worldwide. Five years ago, in 2013, HTC employed 19,000 people.
HTC started as a white label device maker giving carriers an option to sell devices branded with their name. The company also had a line of HTC-branded connected PDAs that competed in the nascent smartphone market. BlackBerry, or Research in Motion as it was called until 2013, ruled this phone segment, but starting around 2007 HTC began making inroads thanks to innovated touch devices that ran Windows Mobile 6.0.
In 2008 HTC introduced the Touch line with the Touch Diamond, Touch Pro, Touch 3G and Touch HD. These were stunning devices for the time. They were fast, loaded with big, user swappable batteries and microSD card slots. The Touch Pro even had a front-facing camera for video calls.
HTC overplayed a custom skin onto of Windows Mobile making it a bit more palatable for the general user. At that time, Windows Mobile was competing with BlackBerry’s operating system and Nokia’s Symbian. None were fantastic, but Windows Mobile was by far the most daunting for new users. HTC did the best thing it could do and developed a smart skin that gave the phone a lot of features that would still be considered modern.

In 2009 HTC released the first Android device with Google. Called the HTC Dream or G1, the device was far from perfect. But the same could be said about the iPhone. This first Android phone set the stage for future wins from HTC, too. The company quickly followed up with the Hero, Droid Incredible, Evo 4G and, in 2010, the amazing Google Nexus One.
After the G1, HTC started skinning Android in the same fashion as it did Windows Mobile. It cannot be overstated how important this was for the adoption of Android. HTC’s user interface made Android usable and attractive. HTC helped make Android a serious competitor to Apple’s iOS.
In 2010 and 2011, Google turned to Samsung to make the second and third flagship Nexus phones. It was around this time Samsung started cranking out Android phones, and HTC couldn’t keep up. That’s not to say HTC didn’t make a go for it. The company kept releasing top-tier phones: the One X in 2012, the One Max in 2013, and the One (M8) in 2014. But it didn’t matter. Samsung had taken up the Android standard and was charging forward, leaving HTC, Sony, and LG to pick from the scraps.
At the end of 2010, HTC was the leading smartphone vendor in the United States. In 2014 it trailed Apple, Samsung, and LG with around a 6% market share in the US. In 2017 HTC captured 2.3% of smartphone subscribers and now in 2018, some reports peg HTC with less than a half percent of the smartphone market.
Google purchased a large chunk of HTC’s smartphone design talent in 2017 for $1.1 billion. The deal transferred more than 2,000 employees under Google’s tutelage. They will likely be charged with working on Google’s line of Pixel devices. It’s a smart move. This HTC team was responsible for releasing amazing devices that no one bought. But that’s not entirely their fault. Outside forces are to blame. HTC never stopped making top-tier devices.
The HTC of today is primarily focused on the Vive product line. And that’s a smart play. The HTC Vive is one of the best virtual reality platforms available. But HTC has been here before. Hopefully, it learned something from its mistakes in smartphones.

Amazing $22 billion buyout Dell will again become a publicly-traded company

Dell is returning to the public market in a $22 billion stock buyout that will still leave CEO/founder Michael Dell and investment firm Silver Lake firmly in charge, as reported by The Financial Times. The company went private in 2013 following a $25 billion buyout by Dell and Silver Lake. Since then, Dell has seen success both in the enterprise market and with its consumer-focused PCs.
By moving back to the public sphere, Dell and Silver Lake will solidify their control over VMWare — which Dell acquired back in 2015 when it purchased enterprise data company EMC to better appeal to business customers — and be placed in a better position to reduce its debts.
“Unprecedented data growth is fueling the digital era of IT,” commented Dell in...
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Shown Off in New Photos Apple's Rumored 18W USB-C iPhone Power Adapter Prototype

Recent rumors and CAD renderings have suggested Apple may be planning to include an 18-watt USB-C charger and a Lightning to USB cable in the box with its iOS devices later this year, allowing for faster charging without requiring users to purchase separate charging accessories at additional cost.

New photos shared by Chongdiantou (via Mac Otakara) show what is claimed to be an engineering prototype of the actual U.S. version of the charger, although their legitimacy cannot be confirmed.

The design of the charger is generally in line with previous renderings, featuring a compact body in the style of Apple's 5-watt charger that has always been included in the box with iPhones. The design otherwise simply includes a pair of prongs on one side and a USB-C port on the other end. The charger does, however, appear somewhat fatter than depicted in the original leaked rendering.

Text on the charger is somewhat different from Apple's usual markings, although this may be due to its prototype nature. The text lists the charger with a model number of A1720, in line with Apple's numbering scheme, and it confirms the charger offers output up to 5V at 3A (15W) or 9V at 2A (18W).

Apple is rumored to be including the more powerful charger with its new iPhones coming later this year, but it would make sense to also include it with upcoming iPad models, which have traditionally included 10–12W adapters.

Microsoft's dream of a pocketable dual-screen Surface

Surface Andromeda concept

The Verge revealed last week that Microsoft wants to create a “new and disruptive” dual-screen device category to influence the overall Surface roadmap and blur the lines between what’s considered PC and mobile. Codenamed Andromeda, Microsoft’s project has been in development for at least two years and is designed to be a pocketable Surface device. Last week, Microsoft’s Surface chief, Panos Panay, appeared to tease a folding, dual-display device in collaboration with LG Display. We’re on the cusp of seeing the release of a folding, dual-screen, tablet-like device that Microsoft has actually been dreaming of for almost a decade.
The original source for a lot of Microsoft’s ambitions was a device called Courier. The secret incubation...
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Vivo’s new sensor tech could be the future of face unlock

Last week Vivo announced its latest innovation in the field of cramming innovative components into phone-sized devices: a time-of-flight 3D scanner with 300,000 sensor points. I had a chance to test the tech out when I dropped in on MWC Shanghai this week, and it’s clear that while things are still very early, we are rapidly approaching the point where your phone is just straight-up going to be able to capture a 3D representation of your head.
The demo Vivo set up starts with a face-registering UI very similar to what you’d see with Face ID — place your head in a circle, turn it left then right, and you’re set. Then, after a bit of loading, you’re presented with a fully textured 3D model of your head that you can rotate at will. You can...
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Samsung updates its stylish Frame TVs with more features and artwork

Samsung's classy Frame TVs have returned, enhanced for 2018 with more art and four magnetic bezel cover options to ensure the expansive 4K Frames fit into the decor of even more homes. The new TVs come with an updated, improved artwork UI, making it... read more