Apples hand is down and its $1 trillion dream now rests with consumers

As we head into the end of 2017, it’s fairly safe to say that Apple’s fate — barring any major issue with its telephones — is now in the hands of its consumers.

With the iPhone X now in stores( well, kind of — if you catch them at the right time ), Apple has now laid down its hand and waits to see where consumer demand lands. Its bid to unlock a higher-tier customer could indeed end up creating a ton of value for the company, which has expended the past year looking to reignite growth in its core driver.

While the iPad and Mac continue to contribute, Apple’s fate largely rests on the success of the iPhone X. Apple this year has increasingly looked like it’s on a real pathway to becoming a$ 1 trillion company, and now the holiday quarter is going to show if it’ll be able to pulling that off.

And the signals are definitely there. Apple briefly tapped a $900 billion marketplace cap, though it’s slipped since then. That $ 1 trillion goal is just a jumping of a bit more than 10 percent for the company, though for Apple that means adding more than $100 billion in value. But this year alone, shares of Apple are up nearly 50 percentage as it increasingly looks like Apple is get its act together after a middling 2016.

Mysterious green line of death appears on some iPhone X displays

It wouldn’t be the launch of a first-generation Apple product without a few hiccups — who can forget Antennagate and Bendgate? — and the iPhone X is no different. A handful of users report that a mysterious and inextinguishable green line has appeared on their device’s display.

The above images, from Twitter users mix0mat 0sis, Nate Heagy and Christian Roman, represent a few of the examples of the “green line of death” as the latter called it. No one seems to know what causes it or how prevalent it actually is. I’ve asked Apple for comment.

We can at least theorize on one part of that. iPhone Xs have a new diamond sub-pixel pattern in their showings, and as such all green sub-pixels appear in lines, while red and blue alternating. You can see that in this image taken as part of DisplayMate’s exams 😛 TAGEND

It seems likely that an electrical fault in a few phones is causing voltage to flow to all the green sub-pixels in a line. That it stretches all the way from top to bottom suggests it’s something at the leading edge of the showing that’s sending an incorrect voltage down a few lines of pixels( if it were just one line of sub-pixels, it would appear much thinner ). The line tends to be close to the right or left side of the phone, but that’s harder to diagnose.

This kind of issue always pops up in ambitious devices that use several new various kinds of tech at scale. It happened to Samsung last year, except the line was pink. Even if merely 0.001 percent of the displays they put together were faulty, a frequency that’s nearly impossible to test for, a few users will still end up with a hobo phone.

One such user already reports that their telephone was replaced at the Apple store, so it seems unlikely that this is a software issue. Is your telephone demonstrating this line? Take a painting and let us know. Then take it in to be replaced.

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Tests give iPhone X display top honors, but camera is merely competitive

Lab tests on the recently released iPhone X put Apple’s new flagship in the highest tiers of quality when it comes to the display and camera, but it’s only in the former category that it genuinely leaves the competition behind. Of course, what’s the phase of having great images if your screen can’t be demonstrating properly?

Apple doesn’t tend to make their own showings; but while LG, Sharp and, in the iPhone X’s case, Samsung rightfully deserve credit for inducing them, Apple doesn’t only snatch them off the shelf. A ton of money and day is expended customizing and tweaking them, and telephones are individually calibrated before they ship to account for difference in the manufacturing process.

DisplayMate’s battery of tests aims at testing the absolute color accuracy, brightness and other objective measures designed to a display. And by those measures the latest iPhone beats out even the latest OLED showings from Samsung, their parent company, as it were.

OLEDs naturally excel in a number of categories, from contrast to color accuracy, and Apple’s software underlines these strengths. Its color accuracy including with regard to is the best DisplayMate has tested. And conveniently, it switches to the correct color profile or gamut depending on the content, entailing you won’t see images intended for display in sRGB presented through the lens of Adobe or DCI-P3.

The iPhone X pretty much nails the whole expanded gamut with no weaknesses in any area whatsoever.

If that doesn’t mean anything to you, don’t fret — the whole point is you don’t need to be aware of it, and instead can simply be sure that photos, movies, games and so on will be seen exactly as they should be. All the same, you might want to expend a little time in the showing alternatives, since automatic white balance may throw off spectators sensitive to that kind of thing( me, for example ).

One change to the display tech that may be considered lateral is the move to diamond sub-pixels. Each pixel in digital showings, as you may know, is generally made up of a number of sub-pixels: different numbers and shapes of red, blue and green that illuminate to various degrees to form in aggregate the colours we perceive.

For LCDs this often takes the form of an RGB grid, generally with a square composed of the representatives of a red, a green, a blue, then maybe another green sub-pixel, or something like that. This has worked but have contributed to certain patterns of aliasing, or pixelation. Different sub-pixel layouts render different aliasing patterns.

The iPhone X’s sub-pixel layout is different from every previous iPhone in that the pixels are diamond-shaped and arranged in a diagonally symmetrical grid rather than rectangular and on a rectangular grid 😛 TAGEND

This is a super-close-up of the OLED sub-pixels.

Now, ever since the advent of> 300 PPI screens, aliasing is much less of a problem than it once was. But some kinds of aliasing are preferable to others, and it happens that the type exhibited by the iPhone X( and others in diamond or Pentile arrangement) is not ideal for vertical and horizontal lines.

This comparison shot taken for iMore’s review of the phone illustrates this 😛 TAGEND

Definitely view this at full sizing if you want to see the difference.

On diagonals and round edges, the diamond pattern constructs for a more natural curve without stair-stepping. But in straight horizontal and horizontal lines, you end up with a sawtooth pattern.

That is, if you look at the phone through a microscope. While sawtooth aliasing was a problem back on the original Galaxy S, we’ve come a long way and pixel pitch is much smaller now, constructing the specific characteristics, while it’s still there, much less noticeable.( I also say this having not looked at the thing in real life, and no one has complained in so far that I know of .)

Camera vies with the best

DxOMark has tested all the flagships this year with a new situate of mobile-focused exams, and while these semi-synthetic metrics should always be taken with a grain of salt, these people know what they’re doing and are of course unregenerate pixel-peepers.

The iPhone X surpasses the previous high rating in still photos, very narrowly beating out the Galaxy Note 8 and Huawei Mate 10 Pro; it’s also better than the iPhone 8 Plus, which was itself briefly a high-water mark. So it’s excellent, as our review procured.

As you might expect in a phone with a fantastic screen, colouring and contrast are particularly well captured. However, like other Apple devices, its shutter lag was frequently longer than the competitor — particularly the Pixel 2, which set a new bar for autofocus velocity and precision.

It lost points in extreme low sunlight, where it was also bested by the Pixel 2, and its flash portraits seem to be regularly underexposed. This is where it also lost phases in video: noise and underexposure marked its 1080 p/ 30 video.

It seems as though under good conditions, though, the iPhone X is as unimpeachable as both its predecessors and competition.

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Facebook denies eavesdropping on conversations to target ads, again

Social networks head of ads rejects rumours that Facebook app utilizes smartphone mics to listen in, serving ads against what it hears

Facebook has again denied eavesdropping on conversations to target adverts, following persistent supposition on the part of users who have received suspiciously timed promotional messages.

Rob Goldman, the head of advertising at the social network, issued the denial in response to a question from the host of tech podcast Reply All.” I run ads product at Facebook. We don’t- and have never- use your microphone for ads. Just absolutely no truth to the rumors ,” Goldman tweeted. He subsequently added that the denial holds true for Facebook’s other social network, Instagram, as well.

The allegation that Facebook secretly spies on users to better profile them for ad is long-running and hard to kill for the social network. The rumour appears to have started in May 2014 where the business launched specific features for its smartphone app called ” Identify Tv and Music”, which listens for ambient noise when a user is writing a status update.

If it hears a TV indicate or song that it recognises using the smartphone’s mic, it offers the user the option of automatically tagging that prove or song in their status update, shaving a few seconds off the time it takes to share the info. Less than a month after the feature was launched, the company had to issue a denial that it was ” always listening “.

But Facebook has also had to admit to occasionally running its smartphone app in the background when it shouldn’t be. In 2015, it fixed an issue that left it running a silent audio stream after the user had shut the app on an iPhone, means that the device’s battery life plummeted.” The app isn’t actually doing anything while awake in the background, but it does use more battery simply by being awake ,” Facebook’s Ari Grant said at the time.

Another fact that has bolstered mistrusts is that, since almost every Facebook user will have shot video or photos with it or Instagram at some point, or employed Messenger to carry out a video or audio dialogue, the app already has the permissions it would need to- hypothetically- carry out the eavesdropping.

The biggest gasoline for the fire, however, is the sheer number of uncanny coincidences that many users have experienced. In the reply to Reply All, people described adverts for cat food after discussing get a cat, for phone holders after expressing longing for them, and stating” so you popped the question !” minutes after a wedding proposal.

Facebook has never directly addressed the coincidences, but others have offered competing justifications, from effective targeting utilizing the rest of the company’s vast hoard of data, to sheer weight of numbers: with 1.7 billion users being served tens of adverts a day, there’s always going to be something uncanny.

‘Downright Orwellian ‘: journalists decry Facebook experiment’s impact on republic

Facebook translates’ good morning’ into’ attack them ‘, leading to arrest

This video shows the iPhone Xs crazy app switching swipe

The iPhone X is about to be released, and somehow, either officially sanctioned or otherwise, a handful of videos have appeared indicating different functions of the device. What follows is a short video presenting the novel way users will switch apps on the iPhone X.

Since the iPhone X does not have a home button, Apple technologists had to rework several control schemes including switching between apps. On an iPhone with a home button, users would double tap the button, causing iOS to switch to a card-like opinion of the running apps. Users would then swipe between them. But on the iPhone X, the user interaction is a bit more native.

The video above shows that to switch apps on the iPhone X users need to create an archway while swiping on the home screen. This causes the running app to be pushed aside and the previous operating app to take it’s place. It’s a carousel of apps.

This isn’t the only way to switch between apps though. If a user swipes up on the home screen, it pulls a screen similar to that found on Home Button-equipped iPhones( and the Palm Pre ).

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Benchmarks contradict Apple slowed down my iPhone claims

It’s a refrain we all hear every year around September: “I swear, whenever they release a new iPhone, Apple makes all the old ones operate worse to make you upgrade.” But thousands of performance tests conducted over the years by Futuremark users show that the conspiracy is mostly in your mind.

If you don’t know Futuremark, it’s the company behind the benchmark software 3DMark( among others ), which for years has been a standby for testing how devices from gaming PCs to telephones perform.

3DMark has the device render demanding 3D scenes that stress various regions of the hardware, and tracks how quickly it calculates, how many frames per second it renders and so on. At the end, it combines all those metrics into a single rating that’s easy to compare between devices or cards.

In the case of the iPhone( for which 3DMark is a free download if you’d like to try it ), power users and reviewers run it( and other benchmarks like it) to see whether updates or apps affect their device’s performance. Futuremark stores those ratings for comparisons like the one released today.

Futuremark’s analysts aggregated the last couple years of scores for the iPhone 5s, 6, 6s and 7, to see whether it was true that iOS releases or new iPhones tended to coincide with( or trigger) drops in performance.

It’s clear from the data that phones don’t seem to degrade in any significant way over time; some do consider performance makes with some OS versions, but others see gains. Even the 5s, quite long in the tooth at this phase, is only a tiny bit slower than it was a year and a half and two major iOS versions ago.

That said, people may still be perceiving real slowdown , nor can synthetic benchmarks reliably capture things like little postpones or input lag that add up to a slow-feeling phone without affecting its pure performance score.

One culprit could be apps themselves; one does tend to install more over hour, of course, resulting in more background processes and network calls, less free space and so on. The apps themselves may also be poorly optimized for new iOS versions when they come out, or iOS could include improvements for newer telephones that just don’t apply to older ones — so your friend’s 6s velocities up while your 6 doesn’t.( Planned obsolescence, after all, is a conspiracy we’ve all known about for decades .)

So while the performance hit may not be totally phantasmal, it seems pretty clear that Apple isn’t sabotaging your device to attain you are updating. And truly, the desire to have the latest model is something Apple users don’t need any help with.

Hopefully that puts an end to these unfounded theories … at the least, until next year.

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The iPhone X reveals why Tim Cook was so mad about Palm

At the unveiling of Apple’s new flagship smartphone yesterday, the iPhone X, CEO Tim Cook said it was something the company’s faculty had been working on for a decade.

The new premium handset with its edge-to-edge display( minus one unfortunate top notch) does away with the physical home button wholly and induces greater employ of gestures for controlling the UI.

The new interface for multitasking seems fluid and intuitive. But it also — if you’ve been smartphone watching for long enough — engenders a distinct feeling of deja vu…

Specifically it looks rather like webOS operating on the Palm Pre — a handset that was announced in 2009, after Jon Rubinstein, former SVP of Apple’s iPod division, had been lured out of retirement in Mexico by Palm: A mobile device company with a( very) long history, and enough self-perspective to realize they needed an experienced product designer to help them surf the next wave of mobility: touchscreen computing.

Rubinstein, who had left Apple in springtime 2006, clearly possessed the sought for design chops. Palm execs flew down to Mexico to woo and win their man.

By the start of 2009 Rubinstein was on stage at CES to announce the Palm Pre: A high-gloss, pebble-shaped slider smartphone which deployed multiple gestures in the UI attaining the most of a touch-sensitive region that widened below the display and onto the bezel itself.

It wasn’t only the scroll-flicks and pinch-to-zooms already on the iPhone and Android devices of the time that Palm had brought over to its next-gen smartphone hardware. It had something else up its sleeve: Its webOS UI incorporated a deck-of-cards activity interface to be the driver for low friction mobile multitasking.

Palm showed how users could easily swipe between and tap on the cards to switch apps. How the order of cards could be rearranged with a thumb press and drag. And how individual cards could be flicked off the top of the screen when the user was done with a particular app or task. Cards indicated fully active apps. It was simple and elegant.

“Now how’s that for some real newness, ” said Matias Duarte, Palm’s senior director of human interface and user experience, with a pretty sizable grin on his face as he wrapped up that part of the Pre’s CES demo.

( Duarte now works on Google’s card-like Material Design design language, which extends the card motif the company first used in Android, for Google Now, in 2012; and “hes been gone” straight from Palm to being a VP of design at Android when the feature was being developed .)

In an earnings bellow later the same month in 2009, Cook was pressed by analysts about how quickly the iPhone’s challengers appeared to be elbowing into the market — and asked how Apple would be able to sustain its leadership.

“We don’t mind competition, but if others rip off our intellectual property, we will go after them, ” he responded in a comment that was picked up on and interpreted at the time as a pretty stark alerting shot across Palm’s bows.

When pressed again specifically on the Palm Pre, and how the device seemed to “directly imitate the iPhone’s innovative interface”, Cook doubled down on his implied accusation of IP theft: “We don’t want to refer to any particular companies, so that was a general statement. We like rivalry because it stimulates us better, but we will not stand for companies contravening on our IP.”

Of course this is all water under the bridge now, as Palm’s dreams of successfully surfing the smartphone wave ended in abrupt disaster — burdened by ongoing legacy software challenges, wrong-footed by carriers’ marketing decisions and ultimately saddled with an unloving acquirer in HP — and the Palm Pre had a cruelly short lifespan for such a forward-thinking device.

I remember how fresh the interface felt in 2009. How tremendously advanced vs legacy smartphone players like BlackBerry and Nokia — which, although they were still minting huge revenues back then, were also clearly failing to come to terms rapidly enough with the paradigm transformation of touchscreen mobility.

Whether the Palm Pre was genuinely ahead of its period, or whether the components of the interface had been plucked out of a carefully schemed Cupertino 10 -year roadmap will be a story for Valley historians to unpick.

But in the iPhone X it’s clear you’re looking at a little ghost of the Pre.

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Apple is looking into reports of iPhone 8 batteries swelling

Reports from a few iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus buyers have suggested there could be an issue with the battery inside some of the devices swelling, causing the case of Apple’s new iPhone to split open and uncover the smartphone’s internals.

Apple has now corroborated it is looking into it, although a spokesperson declined to comment further when asked how many devices are affected.

From what we’ve heard the number of reports so far is very few.

Yesterday CNET rounded up the handful of reports that have emerged — saying there are at least six different reports in at least five countries of the iPhone 8 splitting along its seams.

Today Reuters also noted a report in Chinese country media of an iPhone purchaser claiming a freshly bought iPhone 8 Plus arrived cracked open on October 5, though apparently without any signs of scorching or an explosion.

Apple rival Samsung had big problems with smartphone batteries in its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone. In that instance some Note 7 batteries caught flame, and their own problems was extensive enough that it led Samsung to recall all Note 7 handsets — at great expense.

In the case of the iPhone 8 the questions appears to be limited to batteries bloating/ swelling, rather than catching flame — at the least as reported so far.

Although the phone merely went on sale on September 22 so it’s still early days for the device.

Apple did not release figures for the first weekend sales of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, as it has in the past with new iPhones, so it’s also not yet clear how many of these handsets are in the hands of purchasers at this point.

Some analysts have suggested customers may be holding off on upgrading their iPhone to buy the top-of-the-range iPhone X, which Apple also announced at the same day, but with a later release date.

Pre-sales for the iPhone X are due to begin on October 27, with the handset slated to ship on November 3.

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Apple would like to remind the FCC that it cant activate imaginary FM radios that iPhones dont have

Apple responded today to FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, who issued a statement that “urged” Apple to activate the FM chips that he claimed are in iPhones in the name of public safety. The recent hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria were the hooking for the reasoning. The only problem? Apple hasn’t even included FM radio chips in iPhones since the iPhone 6s.

That’s right, Pai called on Apple to activate radios that don’t even exist.

As John Gruber astutely points out, the statement has the stink of trying to switching blamed or attention off of the FCC’s own response and readiness issues. Pai has been banging the drum for months now and it’s been a talking phase of the NAB for years. When ostensibly asked for remark by Bloomberg, National Association of Broadcasters spokesman Dennis Wharton said “The notion that Apple or anyone else would block this type of information is something that we find fairly troubling.”

Again, the radios do not exist in iPhones and haven’t for over a year now. It’s important to note here that the FCC must test all radio devices thoroughly before they are eligible for sale in the US. It is very likely that the FCC already knew that the FM radio was not present in new iPhones. It’s also worth noting that there is no regulation that says any telephone manufacturer must do this — which is why there is a shaming campaign going on relating to the Chairman of the FCC and a radio broadcasting organization to get Apple to enable radios that it does not possess so that more devices are able to obtain radio.

I ran and asked Apple about it and they said, very clearly, that iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 do not have FM radio chips in them at all. Here’s the statement.

Apple cares deeply about the safety of our users, especially during times of crisis and that’s why we have engineered modern security solutions into our products. Users can dial emergency services and access Medical ID card information immediately from the Lock Screen, and we enable government emergency notifications, ranging from Weather Advisories to AMBER alerts. iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models do not have FM radio chips in them nor do they have antennas designed to support FM signals, so it is not possible to enable FM reception in these products.

I understand that’s true of the iPhone X as well, by the way.

The response from Apple came in earlier today but I still had some questions about this so I did some poking around. The chips that Apple use for its radio comms are actually fairly easy to identify once you’ve opened the occurrence. That has attained it easy for those who do teardowns to figure out what parts from Intel or Broadcom or whoever Apple is using in iPhone 8. Running purely off of that information it could be easy to assume that a certain part number is identical to other portions that are used in phones like the Samsung Galaxy S8.

But that’s not true at all in the case of Apple. Even if a part seems to be the spitting image, for example, of a Broadcom BCM4 357, it is assuredly not. Apple does not buy off the shelf parts and never has. It works closely with manufacturers to get the exact specifications it needs based on the capabilities it wants. Even though parts may appear very, very similar to those used in other phones, they are usually not.

The FM block is simply not there in current iPhone radio chips. It may look the same but it’s not on the chip at all. Broadcom would need to re-spin the chip to add the stuff Apple would need back in. They’d also require, of course, to connect it up( which it never was even in the older phones) and build in an antenna and change its WiFi chip and add back in a headphone jack to use the headphones as an antenna.

Which brings us to a final point: Apple have in fact not had workable FM radios in iPhones in a very, very long time. Much further back than the iPhone 7. Even when the FM modules were included in the chip, “theyre not” connected, had no antennas and no supporting was built in to other radio components. Basically, Apple can’t switch on the FM radio in the iPhone 7, iPhone 8 and iPhone X because they don’t exist. And it can’t switch on many older FM radio chips because the iPhone’s hardware simply are not in favour of it.

We’ve reached out to the FCC to see if they’re aware of any of this. No reaction yet.

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Amazon just launched 6 new gadgets and none was over $150

In the year of the $1000 iPhone Amazon just announced a scattering of new gadgets and none cost more than $150. Essentially, Amazon said “screws the margins” and are selling everything as cheap as possible. This race to the bottom is Amazon’s standard operating procedure. The company did it with Kindles e-readers and again with Kindle Fire tablets. The company releases a proof of concept and lets the market respond. If the response is favorable, Amazon releases the Kraken on the market.

Amazon announced today the quirky Echo Buttons that cost $20 a pair, the $35 Echo Connect landline thing and a $70 Fire TV capable of 4K. And then there’s the swanky $99 cloth-covered Echo, adorable $130 Echo Spot alarm clock and the $150 Echo Plus, which athletics all the goods from the original Echo plus a smart home hub and comes with a Philips Hue bulb.

There’s even a talking Big Mouth Billy Bass. No word on its cost, though.

If that’s not cheap enough, many of the products are available through bundles that pair an Echo with a Fire TV model so owneds can experience smart home commands right out of the box.

So far the strategy worked with the Kindle and Kindle Fire tablets. In both cases, after the market liked the original model, Amazon slashed the hardware margins and flooded the market with quality hardware with MSRPs dramatically under the competitor. In this most recent example, the Echo had a commanding hold on its market much like the Kindle did years ago. Amazon, following its known strategy, only sucked much of the air out of the in-home assistant marketplace. The breadth of Amazon’s inexpensive offering is impressive.

Amazon now sells Echo products for as low as $20 and bundled a Fire TV Stick with an Echo Dot for $60. Said another way, a person could get three Fire TV Sticks and 3 Echo Dots for the price of one Apple TV 4K. If 4K is needed on the Fire TV, Amazon has a bundle for that, too, and a person could buy two bundles of Fire TV 4K and Echo Dots for $20 less than an Apple TV 4K.

At the top of the line is the $199 Echo Look and $229 Echo Show. Both were announced earlier this year but round out a huge product line. There are now 8 different types of Amazon Echos available for purchase.

This bevy of Amazon products were announced at a pivotal period. Rumor has it Google is about to announce updates to its Google Home line including an Echo Dot-like smaller Google Home. Google was already playing catch-up and now it’s virtually inconceivable Google or Apple will be able to catch Amazon.

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