Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Apple plans major redesign for 2021 MacBook Pro
Apple plans major redesign for 2021 MacBook Pro
Credit: unsplash.com / Tobias Lystad

Apple is planning a major MacBook redesign for Q3 of 2021. The most significant changes include removing the OLED Touch Bar favouring physical keys, replacing the USB-C charging port for a proprietary MagSafe connector, a wider range of ports and squared off sides to match their iPad Pro and iPhone 12. These changes are coming to the 14 inch and 16 inch MacBook Pro models. These will contain Apple's own Arm processors, with no Intel options.

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Intel: 9.4 Million Chromebooks Sold in Q3 2020
Chromebook logo
Chromebook logo Credit: Google

Intel revealed today that hardware makers sold at least 9.4 million Chromebooks in Q3 2020, good for 122 percent growth year-over-year. By comparison, Apple, the fourth-biggest maker of computers, sold just 6.2 million Macs that quarter. So Chromebooks outsold the Mac by over one-third, and achieved 12.86 percent market share. That 9.4 million figure, which presumably only counts Intel-based Chromebooks, would not include Chromebooks based on other processors, such as those produced by AMD and Mediatek.

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Mediatek is now world's largest smartphone chipmaker
Mediatek is now world's largest smartphone chipmaker
Credit: unsplash.com / Mathew Schwartz

The Taiwanese chipmaker Mediatek has overtaken Qualcomm at the top in the third quarter of 2020 to become the world's largest smartphone chipmaker, according to findings from Counterpoint.

As the market researchers from Counterpoint report, the US chip developer Qualcomm is now only number 2 when it comes to the quantities sold of SoCs (system-on-a-chip) for smartphones. After that, Mediatek from Taiwan, with a market share of 31 per cent, beat Qualcomm with 29 per cent in the past third quarter of the year.

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Gionee convicted of installing malware on over 20 million smartphones
Gionee convicted of installing malware on over 20 million smartphones
Credit: Maurizio Pesce from Milan, Italia, / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Gionee, a Chinese manufacturer of low-cost smartphones, has been found guilty by the Chinese courts of installing malware on more than 20 million devices it sold between December 2018 and October 2019.

According to the report, the company used a subsidiary to plant a "Trojan horse" to carry ads without the users' permission.

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Apple introduces $549 AirPods Max – noise-cancelling over-ear headphones
"AirPods Max bring the magic of AirPods to an all-new wireless over-ear design with high-fidelity audio, Active Noise Cancellation, spatial audio, and more." – Apple Newsroom
"AirPods Max bring the magic of AirPods to an all-new wireless over-ear design with high-fidelity audio, Active Noise Cancellation, spatial audio, and more." – Apple Newsroom Credit: Apple Newsroom

Apple has introduced its new noise-cancelling over-ear headphones, the AirPods Max. The AirPods MAx come in five colours, silver, space grey, sky blue, green and pink and are priced at $549, with availability beginning Tuesday, December 15.

“AirPods are the most popular headphones in the world, beloved for their effortless setup, incredible sound quality, and iconic design. With AirPods Max, we are bringing that magical AirPods experience to a stunning over-ear design with high-fidelity audio,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The custom acoustic design, combined with powerful H1 chips, and advanced software enable AirPods Max to use computational audio to wirelessly deliver the ultimate personal listening experience.”

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Canada: Guelph police can unlock and copy iPhone contents even if encrypted but has no usage policy on the device
Canada: Guelph police can unlock and copy iPhone contents even if encrypted but has no usage policy on the device
Credit: Courtesy of Grayshift

According to a request under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act filed by the Mercury Tribune, the Guelph Police Service (GPS) has confirmed that a device called GrayKey has been acquired from the Atlanta-based technology company Grayshift.

The device enables low enforcement to unlock and copy data on iPhones. GPS stated in the letter that the GrayKey device "is used only by our technological crimes detectives" but that the agency has no internal policy or procedural documents and that no usage guidelines have been issued.

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Apple cuts commission for developers earning less than $1m annually by 15%
Apple cuts commission for developers earning less than $1m annually by 15%
Credit: Illustration: Pendect; Logo via Apple

Apple will cut the App Store commission by 15 percent for all developers earning less than $1 million in annual sales per year, half of Apple’s standard 30 percent fee.

"The App Store Small Business Program, which will launch on January 1, 2021, comes at an important time as small and independent developers continue working to innovate and thrive during a period of unprecedented global economic challenge," so the company in a statement on their website.

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Apple unveils their new M1 chip, and the first devices to use it
Apple unveils their new M1 chip, and the first devices to use it
Credit: unsplash.com / Marcin Nowak

At 10AM (PST) today, 10 November, Apple unveiled their newest chip for their Mac products. Called the M1, this chip is the first to be designed by the Silicon Valley company.

In the video, introduced by Tim Cook, members of staff go in to detail about how the chip is formed, and which out of their Mac lineup will be the first to use the chip.

The 3 products announced as using the M1 chip are:

• Apple MacBook Air 13in (which also no longer has a fan inside)

• Apple Mac Mini - the company's desktop computer

• Apple MacBook Pro 13in

All devices come with impressive new optimisations in the battery and speed departments. The new devices are available to pre-order now, and will be delivered starting 17 November.

They also announced that the newest software update for their Macs (macOS Big Sur) will finally launch on 12 November, after what some people say has been one of the longest times between announcement and launch.

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First iPad Pro with mini LED display likely coming in Q1 2021
iPad
iPad Credit: Apple (Reproduction)

Korea's ETNews reports that LG will supply Apple with Mini-LED displays for new iPad models set to launch in the first quarter of 2021.

Mini-LED backlighting provides many of the same benefits as OLED displays, including higher brightness, improved contrast ratio, and increased power efficiency.

Some reports had suggested this transition could occur in Q4 of 2020, but it now seems clear that the change has been delayed until early 2021 — perhaps due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated supply chain disruptions.

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Raspberry Pi 400 packs a full computer into a keyboard for $70
Raspberry Pi 400
Raspberry Pi 400 Credit: Raspberry Pi Foundation

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced the Raspberry Pi 400, a compact keyboard with an ARM-based computer built-in. The new device specs include a quad-core 1.8GHz Broadcom processor, 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, gigabit Ethernet, two USB 3.0 ports and a USB 2.0 port (both USB-A) as well as two micro-HDMI ports for connecting a display (with support for outputting in 4K).

The Raspberry Pi 400 is available starting today as a standalone machine for $70 or in a bundle including a mouse, power supply, microSD card, HDMI cable, and beginner’s guide for $100.

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"One More Thing" – Apple announces event for November 10th
"One More Thing" – Apple announces event for November 10th
Credit: Apple Newsroom

Apple has announced its last event for the year. Set for 10 am PST on November 10th, the event called "One More Thing" is presumed to introduce the company's first Arm-based Macs running on Apple Silicon chips instead of Intel processors.

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Apple introduces smart speaker HomePod mini
HomePod mini works with Apple devices so customers can seamlessly hand off music or automatically receive personalized listening suggestions on iPhone.
HomePod mini works with Apple devices so customers can seamlessly hand off music or automatically receive personalized listening suggestions on iPhone. Credit: Apple Newsroom

Apple today introduced the $99 HomePod Mini, its new smart speaker "that delivers impressive sound, the intelligence of Siri to get things done, and a smart home experience that offers comfort and convenience without complexity."

The new device comes in white, and space grey colors and shipping starts the week of November 16.

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Apple unveils new iPhones, including 5G and MagSafe
iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini introduce powerful new innovations and a beautiful design to the world’s best smartphone.
iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini introduce powerful new innovations and a beautiful design to the world’s best smartphone. Credit: Apple Newsroom

During Tuesday's Apple Event, the company introduced four new phones: iPhone 12, the 12 mini, the 12 Pro and the 12 Pro Max, with 5G technology, "ushering in a new era for the world’s best smartphone." The iPhone 12 models also introduce MagSafe, a "high-powered wireless charging and an all-new ecosystem of accessories that easily attach to iPhone."

iPhone 12 starts at $799 and will be available for preorder on October 16 while shipping starts on October 23.

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Apple announces event for October, 13
Apple announces event for October, 13
Credit: Apple

Apple has announced an Apple Event for October 13 at 10 am local pacific time which will be online only like the company's last two events. Even though the invitation sent to the press had made no explicit reference to the iPhone 12, it's rumoured that the company will announce their new smartphone during the event.

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Apple recommends resetting iPhones due to increased battery consumption by iOS 14
Apple recommends resetting iPhones due to increased battery consumption by iOS 14
Credit: unsplash.com / Arnel Hasanovic

Apple has published a proposed solution to a range of problems that include health apps that cannot be opened, missing fitness data, inaccurate reports on memory consumption and increased battery consumption on iPhones and Apple Watches on its website.

There the iPhone manufacturer advises users, who can detect "two or more" of the mentioned problems with their devices, to make a backup of their iPhone, to disconnect the Apple Watch and then to delete all data from their devices. Subsequently, users should restore their smartphone and Apple Watch from the backup. Apple recommends these steps to "prevent future data loss".

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Patent reveals Apple is working on foldable iPhone with "self-healing" screen
Patent reveals Apple is working on foldable iPhone with "self-healing" screen
Credit: Apple, Courtesy of USPTO

Apple has filed a patent to the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a foldable iPhone with a "self-healing" screen that could "heal" itself from scratches and dents "automatically." The patent called "Electronic Devices With Flexible Display Cover Layers" was filed earlier this year, but was only just made public, according to 9to5mac.com.

"During the operation of an electronic device, the display cover layer for the electronic device may be scratched or dented. To improve the aesthetics of the electronic device, it may be desirable for the presence of scratches and dents to be minimized. To help mitigate the number of dents, scratches, or other imperfections in a display cover layer, the display cover layer may include a layer of self-healing material," the patent reads.

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New still in construction Berlin airport uses outdated Windows XP
New still in construction Berlin airport uses outdated Windows XP
Credit: Florian Schmidt courtesy Twitter

With a delay of almost nine years, the new Berlin airport is scheduled to be opened on the last day of October. A journalist from t-online has now spotted that parts of the IT systems at the Berlin airport still run on an outdated version of Windows XP that lost support my Microsoft latest in April 2019.

The system has been spotted in an elevator. Currently, it is unclear if the system is connected to the internet or to an internal network leaving the security implications unclear.

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Nintendo to discontinue 3DS production
Nintendo to discontinue 3DS production
Credit: Nintendo (Reproduction)

Nintendo has stated on its website that the production of the Nintendo 3DS has been discontinued. This includes all devices in the series, including the 2DS editions.

The latest model had been released in 2017 before Nintendo has switched to the Switch.

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Survey: Every third person in Austria is afraid of 5G
Survey: Every third person in Austria is afraid of 5G
Credit: unsplash.com / Jeevan Katel

According to a survey by the online price comparison platform durchblicker.at 39 per cent of the surveyed people ones are against the establishment of 5G radio masts, as results from a questioning of 1.200 households in the second half of August. Ten percent are afraid of 5G, 26 percent are "a little bit" afraid of it. Two thirds of those who express concerns cannot give a concrete reason for their fears.

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Apple has designed a face mask for its employees

Apple's Engineering and Industrial Design teams have designed a minimalistic face mask called the "Apple Face Mask" which is being distributed to both corporate and retail employees. The mask has three layers and can be worn up to five times.

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Huawei to reduce smartphone production by 74 per cent
Huawei to reduce smartphone production by 74 per cent
Credit: Huawei

The Korean electronics industry media magazine The Elec has reported based on insider information that Huawei will reduce the production of smartphones by 74% following sanctions from the United States that lead to a decline in sales.

Also, Samsung and SK Hynix have stopped delivering microchips to the Chinese company.

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Japan's 'flying car' gets off ground, with a person aboard
Japan's 'flying car' gets off ground, with a person aboard
Credit: SkyDrive

Japan's SkyDrive Inc., among the myriads of "flying car" projects around the world, has carried out a successful though modest test flight with one person aboard.

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Elon Musk announces presentation of "working" brain-computer interface
Elon Musk announces presentation of "working" brain-computer interface
Credit: Screenshot Twitter

With his company Neuralink, Elon Musk aims to establish technological interfaces to the brain. The goals is to improve the medical treatment of brain diseases and those of the central nervous system. Musk, who is best known for his other companies Tesla and SpaceX, has now announced on Twitter that a "working" neuralink device would be presented on Friday.

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Chinese person pays €253,000 for phone number that ends with 88888
Chinese person pays €253,000 for phone number that ends with 88888
Credit: Jerry Wang

At an auction for phone numbers in China a person has paid 2,25 million yuan which are around €253,000 for a phone number that ends with 88888. Traditionally the eight is considered a lucky number in China as it sounds similar to the word "prosperity" in Mandarin when spoken.

In total over 5,000 bids for the phone number had been submitted and it is yet unclear if the winner has bought the number on behalf of a company or as a private person.

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Amazon Alexa security issue could have allowed access to user data
Amazon Echo Dot
Amazon Echo Dot Credit: Amazon

Researchers from security firm Check Point found vulnerabilities, affecting Amazon Echo, in certain Amazon and Alexa subdomains that could have allowed outsider access to user's voice history, including all voice searches and conversation history.

Alexa users could have been easily tricked into falling for the vulnerability, which reportedly needed a single click on a malicious link crafted and sent by the hacker.

Amazon has already patched the flaw.

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Apple announces commitment to become carbon-neutral for all products and supply chain by 2030
Apple announces commitment to become carbon-neutral for all products and supply chain by 2030
Credit: unsplash.com / American Public Power Association

Apple has announced the self-commitment to become a carbon-neutral company for all products it produces and its supply chain, stating that the company is already carbon neutral worldwide in regards to its corporate emissions.

The communicated date to hit the goals is 2030 and Apple aims to achieve this by reducing its emissions by 75 percent and in addition using technology to remove carbon from the environment. These "innovative carbon removal solutions" will be developed by Apple themselves with the aim to close the remaining 25 percent of carbons.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated that "climate action can be the foundation for a new era of innovative potential, job creation, and durable economic growth. With our commitment to carbon neutrality, we hope to be a ripple in the pond that creates a much larger change".

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Many Android devices at risk after discovery of flaws in Snapdragon chip

More than a billion Android devices are at risk of data theft and of becoming spying tools because of more than 400 flaws discovered this week in Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chip.

If an user downloads content that’s rendered by the chip an attacker can exploit those vulnerabilities to install malicious apps without any permission and use them to monitor locations and listen to nearby audio in real time, withdraw photos and videos and even render the phone completely unresponsive.

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20GB of Intel documents were leaked online
20GB of Intel documents were leaked online
Credit: Takuya Oikawa (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

More than 20GB worth of Intel internal documents have been leaked, and it was publicly available on BitTorrent feeds. The leak contains data that Intel makes available to partners and customers under NDA.

The leak, posted Thursday night by Tillie Kottman, an IT consultant based in Switzerland, included source code, development and debugging tools and schematics, tools and firmware for the company’s unreleased Tiger Lake platform.

A misconfigured Akamai CDN server and files with the password “intel123” have been pinpointed as the apparent cause of the leak.

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Japanese startup Donut Robotics invents tech "smart mask" that can translate Japanese into 8 languages
Japanese startup Donut Robotics invents tech "smart mask" that can translate Japanese into 8 languages
Credit: Donut Robotics (Reproduction)

The white "c-mask" by Japanese startup Donut Robotics that can translate Japanese into eight different languages. The tech smart mask needs to be worn over standard face masks to ensure protection and can amplify the mask wearer’s voice, make calls, transcribe speech and translate languages. The first 5,000 masks will be shipped to Japanese buyers in September but the company is looking to expand their market into China, the US and Europe at a later date.

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Apple CFO Luca Maestri announces delay of next iPhones launch
Apple CFO Luca Maestri announces delay of next iPhones launch
Credit: unsplash.com/Drew Coffman

During Apple'2 Q3 2020 earnings call, Apple CFO Luca Maestri revealed that the company is planning to launch the next iPhones "a few weeks later." Maestri didn't give a reason for the delay but it's assumed it's due to the impact of Covid-19.