Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Next Apple event apparently on April 20, according to Siri
Next Apple event apparently on April 20, according to Siri
Credit: Apple

The date for this Spring's Apple event will take place on April 20, according to Siri. When asked about the date of the next Apple, Siri responded with "The special event is on Tuesday, April 20, at Apple Park in Cupertino, CA. You can get all the details on Apple.com," MacRumors reported.

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Microsoft to produce augmented reality headsets for US Army
Microsoft to produce augmented reality headsets for US Army
Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft announced Wednesday that it will produce over 120,000 augmented reality headsets for the US Army based on their Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) program. The contract, which could span over 10 years, is worth up to $22 billion.

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New York politician introduces "No Killer Robots Act" in order to ban armed robots
New York politician introduces "No Killer Robots Act" in order to ban armed robots
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter / BostonDynamics

New York City council member Ben Kallos has introduced the "No Killer Robots Act" as a preventative measure to expand the so-called Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology (POST Act) and prohibit the New York City Police Department (NYPD) from using or threatening to use armed robots in the future. Similarly, Kallos urges that robots not be used in a way "that has a high probability of causing death or serious bodily injury."

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Apple must pay two million dollar fine in Brazil for shipping iPhones without chargers
Apple must pay two million dollar fine in Brazil for shipping iPhones without chargers
Credit: unsplash.com / Adam Birkett

The Brazilian regulator for consumer protection, Procon-SP, has fined Apple the equivalent of two million US dollars. The reason is the company's practice of shipping the iPhone 12 and other new iPhones without an accompanying charger.

The penalty is justified by "misleading advertising and selling the device on unfair terms." Among other things, the regulator also criticizes Apple for not answering the question of whether they would also lower the selling price of the device given the lack of a charger.

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Peloton CEO warns to keep kids away from treadmills after "tragic accident involving"
Peloton CEO warns to keep kids away from treadmills after "tragic accident involving"
Credit: Peleton

Peloton CEO John Foley has issued a statement on the company's website warning owners of the Tread+ treadmill to keep both "children and pets away from Peloton exercise equipment at all times" after a "tragic accident involving a child and the Tread+, resulting in, unthinkably, a death."

"While we are aware of only a small handful of incidents involving the Tread+ where children have been hurt, each one is devastating to all of us at Peloton, and our hearts go out to the families involved," Foley wrote. "We design and build all of our products with safety in mind. But in order to help ensure that you and your family members stay safe with Peloton products in your home, we need your help. This is especially true during what I hope is the final stretch of the pandemic where everyone is still at home."

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Apple Event rumored to be on March 23
Apple Event rumored to be on March 23
Credit: Apple

According to reputable Chinese leaker DuanRui, Apple's spring event will be held on March 23. The company is expected to announce product updates for iPads and AirPods as well as introduce smart tracking devices called AirTags.

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Apple is discontinuing the iMac Pro
Apple is discontinuing the iMac Pro
Credit: Apple

The iMac Pro – Apple's $4,999 all-in-one desktop computer – is being discontinued. Build-to-order configurations of the iMac Pro have been removed from the website and the Apple Store will only continue selling it "while supplies last."

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Razer releases smart glasses with wireless audio
Razer releases smart glasses with wireless audio
Credit: Razer

Singaporean-American multinational technology company Razer Inc. has officially announced the Anzu Smart Glasses, "eyewear with built-in headphones for immersive audio", and with an integrated blue light filter.

"Rethink eyewear with the Razer Anzu—open-ear audio glasses that protect your eyes and immerse your ears. With built-in speakers hidden in its frame, taking in the sights and sounds now has a whole new meaning," the production description reads. "Its blue light lenses filter by 35% to protect your eyes, reducing eyestrain, so they feel fresh and focused while enjoying entertainment or working, while the polarized replacement lenses shield your eyes from the sun with 99% UVA/UVB protection."

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Modular "Framework" laptop to become available in 2021
Modular "Framework" laptop to become available in 2021
Credit: Courtesy of Framework

San Francisco-based Framework Computer, founded in 2019, has announced an extremely modular 13.5-inch notebook powered by Intel Tiger Lake-U35 "that can be upgraded, customized and repaired in a way no other notebook can," according to the manufacturer. It is scheduled for release in the summer of 2021.

Weighing 1.3 kilograms and measuring a maximum of 15.85 mm thick, the notebook will be made from a solid block of aluminium and will house a 13.5-inch 3:2 aspect ratio display with a resolution of 2,256 × 1,504 pixels, a "great" battery with a capacity of 55 Wh, and a "great" keyboard with 1.5 mm key travel.

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Thousands of Macs infected with new Silver Sparrow malware
Thousands of Macs infected with new Silver Sparrow malware
Credit: Erik Mclean

A piece of malware found on almost 30,000 Macs worldwide was discovered by security researchers from Red Canary and analyzed together with researchers from Malwarebytes and VMWare Carbon Black.

Named Silver Sparrow details how the malware was distributed and infected users are still scarce. It's unclear if it was hidden inside malicious ads, pirated apps, or fake Flash updaters —the classic distribution vector for most Mac malware strains. Furthermore, this malware's purpose is also unclear, and researchers don't know what its final goal is.

"Though we haven’t observed Silver Sparrow delivering additional malicious payloads yet, its forward-looking M1 chip compatibility, global reach, relatively high infection rate, and operational maturity suggest Silver Sparrow is a reasonably serious threat, uniquely positioned to deliver a potentially impactful payload at a moment’s notice," Red Canary researchers wrote in a blog post published on Friday.

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Apple AirTags & iPad Pro rumoured to be launched in March
Apple AirTags & iPad Pro rumoured to be launched in March
Credit: unsplash/Laurenz Heymann

Apple's AirTags are said to be launching sometime in March, alongside a new iPad Pro. The launch of the AirTags, which function as a tracking device, has been rumoured for over a year and, according to prolific leaker Jon Prosser, they should finally be released in the first quarter of 2021.

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Original "Apple I" computer on sale for $1,5 million on Ebay
Original "Apple I" computer on sale for $1,5 million on Ebay
Credit: Courtesy of Ebay / krishmiti

According to the product description the product "is a verified fully operational original Apple-1 computer system in excellent condition in its original Byte Shop KOA wood case, with original power supply and Datanetics Version D keyboard. This Apple-1 is an unmodified NTI board in almost perfect condition on both front and back of the main board where you can see there have been no modifications or repairs. This system was verified as original byApple-1 expert Corey Cohen as recently as August 2019 at the Vintage Computer Festival West where it was one of two continually operated units during the show with over 6 hours each day of full operation."

In recent years, there have been repeated auctions of the historic computers, but so far the maximum proceeds have been $905,000 (€755,000).

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Apple urges security upgrade to iPhones, iPads
iPhone
iPhone Credit: Devon Janse van Rensburg (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Apple made iOS software upgrades available Tuesday, adding a rare note suggesting it was a serious threat. The company urges iPhone and iPad users to update their devices to fix security flaws that might have been "actively exploited" by hackers.

The company credited anonymous researchers for pointing out the vulnerability but provided little details about the threat's nature.

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LG might leave the smartphone market
LG K Series models
LG K Series models Credit: LG

LG CEO Kwon Bong-seok sent an internal memo to employees on Wednesday saying that "it’s about time" for the company to take a hard look at things and possibly make "the best choice."

"Since the competition in the global market for mobile devices is getting fiercer, it is about time for LG to make a cold judgment and the best choice," an LG official told the Korea Herald. "The company is considering all possible measures, including sale, withdrawal, and downsizing of the smartphone business."

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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.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
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.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
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.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
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.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
"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.