The iPhone 13 is thicker and heavier than the iPhone 12

The IPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini.

Enlarge / The IPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini. (credit: Apple)

Yesterday, Apple announced its new flagship iPhones: the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max. But while Apple’s livestream was full of details, some things were left out.

Fortunately, we’ve learned a bit more from Apple’s updated website, including dimensions and weight, some info about specs, and the lineup of older iPhone models that will survive the culling that follows the introduction of a new flagship.

Thicker and heavier

The new iPhones are heavier than their immediate predecessors, and they’re a little thicker, too. For example, the iPhone 12 weighed 5.78 ounces, but the iPhone 13 weighs 6.14 ounces. The iPhone 12 Pro was 6.66 ounces, but the iPhone 13 Pro is 7.19 ounces. This holds up across the line. And the iPhone 13 is 0.25 mm thicker than the 12; similar thickness differences are also universal.

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Apple’s new MagSafe wallet can be located with the ‘Find My’ app if it goes missing

Alongside the introduction of the new iPhone 13, Apple introduced a few new accessories to complement its upgraded flagship devices. One of the more interesting additions in the accessories in the lineup is a new MagSafe wallet that works with Apple “Find My” service. That means if you accidentally lose your wallet when it becomes unattached from your iPhone, you can launch the Find My app to locate it as you can with other Apple devices or items attached to your Apple AirTags.

In this case, the MagSafe leather wallet will notify users the last known location where the wallet was separated from the phone.

This is a small, but clever addition for those who use Apple’s MagSafe products. The technology was first introduced last fall to allow iPhone users to attach all sorts of products to the back of their iPhone, like cases, wallets, tripods and car mounts, as well as Apple’s own accessories for charging, like the MagSafe battery pack — which is coming to iPhone 13. MagSafe works by layering on a magnetometer, a copper-graphite shield, two shields, multiple layers of magnets, an NFC antenna, and more on the back of the iPhone, to make the accessories attach.

But it had not yet combined the power of MagSafe with the capabilities of “Find My” until now.

Image Credits: Apple

Along with the launch of the “Find My”-connected wallet, aka the iPhone Leather Wallet with MagSafe, the company is also introducing a range of new cases and colors for iPhone, designed to work with MagSafe. This includes MagSafe cases in leather and silicone, as well as a clear case with MagSafe. All are available to order today.

Read more about Apple's Fall 2021 Event on TechCrunch

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Apple’s MagSafe Battery Pack is available in-store now for $99

Apples new MagSafe Battery Pack for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro is now available for in-store pickup, and the first online orders have arrived at buyers’ doorsteps.

If you’re in the market to buy the battery pack, you can either buy one online and see it shipped to you in the coming days or weeks (depending on where you live) or go to your local Apple Store and purchase one. Availability will, of course, depend on location, as will COVID-19 safety procedures at a given Apple Store.

Apple’s website offers multiple ways to find out if your nearest retail location has the battery pack in stock. For example, if you’re in the US, the online store page for the product attempts to automatically detect your ZIP code, or you can enter your ZIP code manually. The product page will then say whether the battery pack is available at the closest location.

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Apple introduces MagSafe Battery Pack to charge the iPhone 12 on the go

Confirming previous rumors, Apple has begun selling a magnetic battery pack for MagSafe-equipped iPhone models. Dubbed simply the “MagSafe Battery Pack,” it costs $99 on Apple’s online store.

MagSafe is a new feature (with an old name) for the iPhone 12 lineup. Supported phones contain magnets on the back that can be used to attach accessories, including this one. Here, MagSafe ensures that the charger and the iPhone’s charging coils are properly aligned.

The battery pack charges the iPhone at 5 W while unplugged or 15 W while plugged in. If we’re deciphering Apple’s ad copy accurately, the MagSafe Battery Pack itself can be charged at up to 15 W. But when the pack is attached to an iPhone and you charge both simultaneously, you can charge at 20 W.

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Apple introduces a $99 MagSafe Battery Pack for the iPhone 12

The addition of MagSafe to the iPhone 12 line introduced all manner of fun avenues for accessory makers, but there’s a strong case (so to speak) to be made that a snap on battery pack might be the most useful of all. A number of third-parties (notably Anker and Mophie) have introduced their own versions, and now Apple’s getting in on the action.

The simply-named MagSafe Battery Pack went up for pre-order on Apple’s site today for $99, with an estimated arrival of July 19. The new pack comes in white (with a subtly gray Apple logo on the back to let people know you went first-party) and provides up to 15W of wireless charging, per the company.

Other details are scarce at the moment, including  precisely how many phone charges you’ll get out of the pack. Eagle-eyed viewers noticed on the rear of the device, fine-print noting the 1,460 mAh size. The pack itself charges via Lightning port, and users can plug it in with the phone attached to get a quicker charge to both the pack and battery at once.

The price is a premium, compared to Anker and Mophie’s products, which run around the $45-50 range for a 5,000 mAh battery.

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Interview: Apple executives on the 2021 iPad Pro, stunting with the M1 and creating headroom

When the third minute of Apple’s first product event of 2021 ticked over and they had already made 3 announcements we knew it was going to be a packed one. In a tight single hour this week, Apple launched a ton of new product including AirTags, new Apple Card family sharing, a new Apple TV, a new set of colorful iMacs, and a purple iPhone 12 shade.

Of the new devices announced, though, Apple’s new 12.9” iPad Pro is the most interesting from a market positioning perspective. 

This week I got a chance to speak to Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Greg Joswiak and Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering John Ternus about this latest version of the iPad Pro and its place in the working universe of computing professionals. 

In many ways, this new iPad Pro is the equivalent of a sprinter being lengths ahead going into the last lap and just turning on the afterburners to put a undebatable distance between themselves and the rest of the pack. Last year’s model is still one of the best computers you can buy, with a densely packed offering of powerful computing tools, battery performance and portability. And this year gets upgrades in the M1 processor, RAM, storage speed, Thunderbolt connection, 5G radio, new ultra wide front camera and its Liquid Retina XDR display. 

This is a major bump even while the 2020 iPad Pro still dominates the field. And at the center of that is the display.

Apple has essentially ported its enormously good $5,000 Pro Display XDR down to a 12.9” touch version, with some slight improvements. But the specs are flat out incredible. 1,000 nit brightness peaking at 1,600 nits in HDR with 2,500 full array local dimming zones — compared to the Pro Display XDR’s 576 in a much larger scale.

Given that this year’s first product launch from Apple was virtual, the media again got no immediate hands on with the new devices introduced, including iPad Pro. This means that I have not yet seen the XDR display in action. Unfortunately, these specs are so good that estimating them without having seen the screen yet is akin to trying to visualize “a trillion” in your head. It’s intellectually possible but not really practical. 

It’s brighter than any Mac or iOS device on the market and could be a big game shifting device for professionals working in HDR video and photography. But even still, this is a major investment to ship a micro-LED display in the millions or tens of millions of units with more density and brightness than any other display on the market. 

I ask both of them why there’s a need to do this doubling down on what is already one of the best portable displays ever made — if not one of the best displays period. 

“We’ve always tried to have the best display,” says Ternus. “We’re going from the best display on any device like this and making it even better, because that’s what we do and that’s why we, we love coming to work every day is to take that next big step.

“[With the] Pro Display XDR if you remember one thing we talked about was being able to have this display and this capability in more places in the work stream. Because traditionally there was just this one super expensive reference monitor at the end of the line. This is like the next extreme of that now you don’t even have to be in the studio anymore you can take it with you on the go and you can have that capability so from a, from a creative pro standpoint we think this is going to be huge.”

In my use of the Pro Display and my conversations with professionals about it one of the the common themes that I’ve heard is the reduction in overall workload due to the multiple points in the flow where color and image can be managed accurately to spec now. The general system in place puts a reference monitor very late in the production stage which can often lead to expensive and time consuming re-rendering or new color passes. Adding the Liquid Retina XDR display into the mix at an extremely low price point means that a lot more plot points on the production line suddenly get a lot closer to the right curve. 

One of the stronger answers on the ‘why the aggressive spec bump’ question comes later in our discussion but is worth mentioning in this context. The point, Joswiak says, is to offer headroom. Headroom for users and headroom for developers. 

“One of the things that iPad Pro has done as John [Ternus] has talked about is push the envelope. And by pushing the envelope that has created this space for developers to come in and fill it. When we created the very first iPad Pro, there was no Photoshop,” Joswiak notes. “There was no creative apps that could immediately use it. But now there’s so many you can’t count. Because we created that capability, we created that performance — and, by the way sold a fairly massive number of them — which is a pretty good combination for developers to then come in and say, I can take advantage of that. There’s enough customers here and there’s enough performance. I know how to use that. And that’s the same thing we do with each generation. We create more headroom to performance that developers will figure out how to use.

“The customer is in a great spot because they know they’re buying something that’s got some headroom and developers love it.”

The iPad Pro is now powered by the M1 chip — a move away from the A-series naming. And that processor part is identical (given similar memory configurations) to the one found in the iMac announced this week and MacBooks launched earlier this year.

“It’s the same part, it’s M1,” says Ternus. “iPad Pro has always had the best Apple silicon we make.”

“How crazy is it that you can take a chip that’s in a desktop, and drop it into an iPad,” says Joswiak. “I mean it’s just incredible to have that kind of performance at such amazing power efficiency. And then have all the technologies that come with it. To have the neural engine and ISP and Thunderbolt and all these amazing things that come with it, it’s just miles beyond what anybody else is doing.”

As the M1 was rolling out and I began running my testing, the power per watt aspects really became the story. That really is the big differentiator for M1. For decades, laptop users have been accustomed to saving any heavy or intense workloads for the times when their machines were plugged in due to power consumption. M1 is in the process of resetting those expectations for desktop class processors. In fact, Apple is offering not only the most powerful CPUs but also the most power-efficient CPUs on the market. And it’s doing it in a $700 Mac Mini, a $1,700 iMac and a $1,100 iPad Pro at the same time. It’s a pretty ridiculous display of stunting, but it’s also the product of more than a decade of work building its own architecture and silicon.

“Your battery life is defined by the capacity of your battery and the efficiency of your system right? So we’re always pushing really really hard on the system efficiency and obviously with M1, the team’s done a tremendous job with that. But the display as well. We designed a new mini LED for this display, focusing on efficiency and on package size, obviously, to really to be able to make sure that it could fit into the iPad experience with the iPad experience’s good battery life. 

“We weren’t going to compromise on that,” says Ternus.

One of the marquee features of the new iPad Pro is its 12MP ultra-wide camera with Center Stage. An auto-centering and cropping video feature designed to make FaceTime calling more human-centric, literally. It finds humans in the frame and centers their faces, keeping them in the frame even if they move, standing and stretching or leaning to the side. It also includes additional people in the frame automatically if they enter the range of the new ultra-wide 12MP front-facing camera. And yes, it also works with other apps like Zoom and Webex and there will be an API for it.

I’ve gotten to see it in action a bit more and I can say with surety that this will become an industry standard implementation of this kind of subject focusing. The crop mechanic is handled with taste, taking on the characteristics of a smooth zoom pulled by a steady hand rather than an abrupt cut to a smaller, closer framing. It really is like watching a TV show directed by an invisible machine learning engine. 

“This is one of the examples of some of our favorite stuff to do because of the way it marries the hardware and software right,” Ternus says. “So, sure it’s the camera but it’s also the SOC and and the algorithms associated with detecting the person and panning and zooming. There’s the kind of the taste aspect, right? Which is; how do we make something that feels good it doesn’t move too fast and doesn’t move too slow. That’s a lot of talented, creative people coming together and trying to find the thing that makes it Apple like.”

It also goes a long way to making the awkward horizontal camera placement when using the iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard. This has been a big drawback for using the iPad Pro as a portable video conferencing tool, something we’ve all been doing a lot of lately. I ask Ternus whether Center Stage was designed to mitigate this placement.

“Well, you can use iPad in any orientation right? So you’re going to have different experiences based on how you’re using it. But what’s amazing about this is that we can keep correcting the frame. What’s been really cool is that we’ve all been sitting around in these meetings all day long on video conferencing and it’s just nice to get up. This experience of just being able to stand up and kind of stretch and move around the room without walking away from the camera has been just absolutely game changing, it’s really cool.”

It’s worth noting that several other video sharing devices like the Portal and some video software like Teams already offer cropping-type follow features, but the user experience is everything when you’re shipping software like this to millions of people at once. It will be interesting to see how Center Stage stacks up agains the competition when we see it live. 

With the ongoing chatter about how the iPad Pro and Mac are converging from a feature-set perspective, I ask how they would you characterize an iPad Pro vs. a MacBook buyer? Joswiak is quick to respond to this one. 

“This is my favorite question because you know, you have one camp of people who believe that the iPad and the Mac are at war with one another right it’s one or the other to the death. And then you have others who are like, no, they’re bringing them together — they’re forcing them into one single platform and there’s a grand conspiracy here,” he says.

“They are at opposite ends of a thought spectrum and the reality is that neither is correct. We pride ourselves in the fact that we work really, really, really hard to have the best products in the respective categories. The Mac is the best personal computer, it just is. Customer satisfaction would indicate that is the case, by a longshot.”

Joswiak points out that the whole PC category is growing, which he says is nice to see. But he points out that Macs are way outgrowing PCs and doing ‘quite well’. He also notes that the iPad business is still outgrowing the tablets category (while still refusing to label the iPad a tablet). 

“And it’s also the case that it’s not an ‘either or’. The majority of our Mac customers have an iPad. That’s an awesome thing. They don’t have it because they’re replacing their Mac, it’s because they use the right tool at the right time.

What’s very cool about what [Ternus] and his team have done with iPad Pro is that they’ve created something where that’s still the case for creative professionals too — the hardest to please audience. They’ve given them a tool where they can be equally at home using the Mac for their professional making money with it kind of work, and now they can pick up an iPad Pro — and they have been for multiple generations now and do things that, again, are part of how they make money, part of their creative workflow flow,” says Joswiak. “And that test is exciting. it isn’t one or the other, both of them have a role for these people.”

Since converting over to an iPad Pro as my only portable computer, I’ve been thinking a lot about the multimodal aspects of professional work. And, clearly, Apple has as well given its launch of a Pro Workflows team back in 2018. Workflows have changed massively over the last decade, and obviously the iPhone and an iPad, with their popularization of the direct manipulation paradigm, have had everything to do with that. In the current world we’re in, we’re way past ‘what is this new thing’, and we’re even way past ‘oh cool, this feels normal’ and we’re well into ‘this feels vital, it feels necessary.’ 

“Contrary to some people’s beliefs, we’re never thinking about what we should not do on an iPad because we don’t want to encroach on Mac or vice versa,” says Ternus. “Our focus is, what is the best way? What is the best iPad we can make what are the best Macs we can make. Some people are going to work across both of them, some people will kind of lean towards one because it better suits their needs and that’s, that’s all good.”

If you follow along, you’ll know that Apple studiously refuses to enter into the iPad vs. Mac debate — and in fact likes to place the iPad in a special place in the market that exists unchallenged. Joswiak often says that he doesn’t even like to say the word tablet.

“There’s iPads and tablets, and tablets aren’t very good. iPads are great,” Joswiak says. “We’re always pushing the boundaries with iPad Pro, and that’s what you want leaders to do. Leaders are the ones that push the boundaries leaders are the ones that take this further than has ever been taken before and the XDR display is a great example of that. Who else would you expect to do that other than us. And then once you see it, and once you use it, you won’t wonder, you’ll be glad we did.”

Image Credits: Apple

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AirTags orders began today, but supplies are already dwindling

Apple began taking orders Friday for its new AirTags location-tracking product and the new purple color for the iPhone 12, but AirTag supply is already falling behind demand.

Announced earlier this week, AirTags are Apple’s answer to the already established and relatively popular Tile product. Each AirTag is a small disc that can be attached to a valuable possession so you can track it with your iPhone if you lose it.

Each AirTag sends out a Bluetooth signal that nearby compatible devices in the “Find My” network detect. When a device detects the AirTag, it reports its location, and you can use the newly rebranded “Find My” app to locate it; Apple claims the process is anonymous, secure, and encrypted.

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Apple starts assembling iPhone 12 in India

Apple is beginning to assemble the iPhone 12 in India as it ramps up its production capacity in the world’s second largest smartphone market. Foxconn, a contract manufacturing partner of Apple, is assembling the iPhone 12 model — though currently no other iPhone 12 model — Pro and Pro Max, and Mini — in the country.

The move underscores how India is emerging as a big production hub for global smartphone makers. Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, and OnePlus have been assembling their smartphone models in India for more than half a decade and have increased their production capacities in recent years.

To attract global giants, New Delhi has been offering tax benefits to firms that locally produce in India and in recent quarters has significantly increased the perks.

“We are optimistic and looking forward to building a strong ecosystem across the value chain and integrating with the global value chains, thereby strengthening electronics manufacturing ecosystem in the country,” said India’s IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad last year.

Apple began locally assembling select iPhone models in India in 2017 — beginning with the iPhone SE — though for the initial years the company’s contract partners locally produced only older iPhone models in the country.

Analysts have estimated that Apple, which launched its online store in India last year and is working to set up its first physical retail store in the country this year, plans to move between seven to 10% of its iPhone production to India as it looks to cut reliance on China. TechCrunch understands the figure is “wild speculation.”

The iPhone maker suffered a setback in India late last year after a violent protest broke at a facility in Wistron, one of its key manufacturing partners of Apple, near Bangalore last year. But the Taiwanese firm appears to have resolved the issues. It said last month that it was rehiring workers and will soon be resuming production at its facility.

“Apple is dedicated to making the best products and services in the world to delight our customers. We are proud to be starting production of iPhone 12 in India for our local customers,” said an Apple spokesperson in India in a statement.

Apple assumes just 2% of the Indian smartphone market, but it has grown in recent quarters. Apple shipped more than 1.5 million iPhone units in India in the quarter that ended in December, up 100% year-on-year, making this its best quarter in the world’s largest smartphone market to date, according to research firms Counterpoint and CyberMedia Research.

Unlike several foreign firms that offer their products and services at low prices in India, Apple has focused entirely on a small fraction of the population that can afford to pay big bucks, said Jayanth Kolla, chief analyst at Convergence Catalyst. And while it took several years, Apple has carved out a slice of the market that is growing, he said.

#apple, #apple-india, #asia, #foxconn, #hardware, #iphone-12, #tc

Apple beats Samsung in phone sales for first time since 2016

Apple beat out Samsung to become the world’s leading seller of smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to a new data report by research firm Gartner. Samsung had outsold Apple since the same quarter in 2016.

Gartner estimates that Apple sold 79.94 million during the quarter, while Samsung managed to sell 62.17 million. Samsung did not release new flagship phones that quarter. Apple’s sales were driven by the introduction of the new iPhone 12 lineup, which generally sold better than the previous year’s iPhone updates. Apple sold 69.6 million iPhones in the fourth quarter of 2019.

However, this victory for Apple happened amid a general decline of the smartphone market. Overall smartphone sales declined 12.5 percent in 2020 and by 5.4 percent in the fourth quarter.

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Apple faces development hurdles with MagSafe battery pack accessory

Bloomberg has published yet another report sharing details of a planned Apple product launch. This time, the publication’s sources say Apple is working on a magnetically attached battery pack for iPhones—it would be the first Apple-designed iPhone battery pack that does not double as a case.

The accessory would use the MagSafe feature introduced with the iPhone 12 lineup in October. It would magnetically attach to the back of new iPhones and presumably provide power wirelessly via the Qi standard that iPhones have adopted. According to Bloomberg’s sources, the first prototypes have a “white rubber exterior.”

Apple has also already shipped some MagSafe accessories for the iPhone, including a charging cable that uses the magnets and other components to optimally align the charging coils and produce faster charging speeds than were possible with previous iPhone models with non-MagSafe Qi charging capability.

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Sorry, small-phone lovers: The iPhone 12 mini was Apple’s 2020 sales flop

Bad news for lovers of smaller phones: the iPhone 12 mini has sold poorly compared to other phones in the iPhone 12 lineup—poorly enough that analysts wonder whether Apple will remain committed to the smaller phone design moving forward.

A data firm called Counterpoint Research found that the iPhone 12 mini accounted for just 5 percent of overall sales from the company’s smartphone lineup in early January. And J.P. Morgan analyst William Yang told Reuters that screens under 6 inches now account for only 10 percent of smartphones sold industry-wide.

The data from Counterpoint is not the first to tell this story. Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) broke down iPhone 12 lineup sales in detail last month. They found that the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max made up about 20 percent of sales from the larger iPhone 12 lineup during the launch window, while the non-Pro, 6.1-inch iPhone 12 accounted for 27 percent.

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Apple just had its best quarter in India

When Apple reports its earnings on Wednesday, you can expect mentions of India on the call.

Apple shipped more than 1.5 million iPhone units in India in the quarter that ended in December, up 100% year-on-year, making this its best quarter in the world’s largest smartphone market to date, according to research firms Counterpoint and CyberMedia.

Thanks to the improved sales of older generation iPhone 11, iPhone XR, iPhone 12 and the newer iPhone SE, Apple doubled its market share in India to 4% in the quarter, the research firms said.

Overall, Apple shipped more than 3.2 million iPhone units in India in 2020, up 60% year-on-year, Counterpoint said.

The shipment growth comes months after Apple launched its online store in the country and offered customers a wide-range of financing and upgrade options, AppleCare+, and lucrative perks such as a free set of AirPods with the purchase of iPhone 11. The company plans to open its first physical retail store in the country later this year.

For more than a decade, Apple has struggled to sell its handsets in India because of the expensive price tags they carry. Most smartphones that ship in India are priced between $100 to $200. Samsung, and a group of Chinese smartphone vendors including Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo flooded the market in the past decade with their affordable smartphones.

None the less, in recent years Apple has visibly grown more interested in the country that is also one of the world’s fastest growing smartphones markets. The company’s contract manufacturers today locally assemble a range of iPhone models and some accessories — an effort the company kickstarted more than two years ago. (A recent violent event at an Indian facility of Wistron, one of Apple’s contract manufacturers, however, underscored some of the challenges Apple will grapple with as it looks to scale its local production efforts in the country.)

That move has allowed Apple to lower prices of some older generation iPhone models in India, where for years the company has passed import duty charges to customers. The starting price of the iPhone 12 Pro Max is $1,781 in India, compared to $1,099 in the U.S. (Apple has yet to start locally assemble the iPhone 12 units.) The AirPods Pro, which sells at $249 in the U.S., was made available in India at $341 at the time of launch. AirPods Max, similarly, is priced at $815 in India, compared to $549 in the U.S. (It doesn’t help that an average person in India makes $2,000 a year.)

Unlike most foreign firms that offer their products and services for free in India or at some of the world’s cheapest prices, Apple has focused entirely on a small fraction of the population that can afford to pay big bucks, Jayanth Kolla, chief analyst at Convergence Catalyst, told TechCrunch.

That’s not to say that Apple has not made some changes to its price strategy for India. The monthly cost of Apple Music is $1.35 in India, compared to $9.99 in the U.S. Its Apple One bundle, which includes Apple Music, TV+, Arcade and iCloud, costs $2.65 a month in India.

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Not just MagSafe: Apple reminds users not to hold iPhones near pacemakers

This week, Apple published clarifications to its support documents to address consumer concern that, because of the presence of the MagSafe magnet system in new iPhones, the iPhone 12 and its 2020 peers are particularly unsafe to hold in close proximity to an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) or pacemaker.

The updated warning from Apple to customers repeats previous statements that keeping any iPhone within six inches of an ICD or pacemaker (or within 15 inches, while charging wirelessly) is unsafe. The warning also claims the iPhone 12 is not specifically more dangerous than other models.

Several weeks back, Heart Rhythm Journal published results of a test wherein it repeatedly found that moving an iPhone 12 with MagSafe close to a patient’s ICD interfered with the functioning of that lifesaving device. After that report, tech enthusiasts visited forums, Twitter, and Reddit to spread speculation that the iPhone 12 was particularly dangerous to people with pacemakers because of the introduction of MagSafe.

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PopSockets announces its MagSafe-compatible iPhone 12 accessories

In October, TechCrunch broke the news that PopSockets was developing its own line of MagSafe-compatible products that will support the new wireless charging capabilities of the iPhone 12 devices. Today, at the (virtual) 2021 Consumer Electronics Show, the company formally introduced its upcoming products for the first time. The new line will include three MagSafe-compatible PopGrips, a wallet with an integrated grip and two mounts.

The first of these is the new PopGrip for MagSafe, which will magnetically attach to MagSafe-compatible cases for iPhone 12 devices.

The design of this PopGrip clears up some confusion over how a PopGrip (the round, poppable dongle that people normally think of when they think of “PopPockets”) will work with a MagSafe device. Instead of attaching just at the base of the grip itself, the grip is integrated into a larger base that attaches to the case.

Image Credits: PopSockets

Meanwhile, the grip has a swappable top so you can change the style of your PopGrip whenever you want without having to buy a whole new accessory.

This grip will also be compatible with PopSockets PopMount 2 phone mounts, including the new PopMount 2 for MagSafe, introduced today.

The PopMount 2 for MagSafe will launch as two solutions: PopMount for MagSafe Multi-Surface and PopMount for MagSafe Car Vent. As described by their name, both products will magnetically attach to iPhone 12 devices either at home or while on-the-go.

For those who use the new PopGrip for MagSafe grip, they’ll be able to leave the grip on, then let the mount’s magnets attach to the base.

Image Credits: PopMount Multi Surface for MagSafe

Also new is an updated PopWallet+ for MagSafe, which is a combination wallet and grip that lets users carry up to three cards and now attaches magnetically to MagSafe-compatible phone cases for iPhone 12 devices. The wallet has an elastic sock so you can extract your cards without having to remove the wallet from the back of the device, and it now includes a shield to protect credit cards from magnetic damage. The grip here is swappable, too.

Image Credits: PopSockets

Image Credits: PopWallet+ for MagSafe

There are also two versions of the PopGrip Slide becoming available. One, the PopGrip Slide Stretch will have expanding arms that attach mechanically to the sides of most phone cases, including iPhone 12 cases. You can slide this grip to the bottom of the phone to serve as a portrait stand or to attach MagSafe accessories, without having to remove the grip.

Image Credits: PopGrip Slide Stretch for MagSafe

The PopGrip Slide for iPhone 12 is basically the same thing, but designed to fit the Apple Silicone cases for iPhone 12 devices, more specifically.

Among the first of the new accessories to hit the market will be the PopGrip for MagSafe and PopWallet+ for MagSafe in spring 2021.

The PopGrip Slide Stretch will launch March 21 on PopSockets.com and in select Target locations ahead of a broader rollout. The PopGrip Slide will launch May 1 on PopSockets.com and in Apple Stores. And the PopMount for MagSafe line will launch in summer 2021.

The company also announced a few other non-MagSafe products, including the PopGrip Pocketable, which streamlines the grip when collapsed so the surface is flat; the PopGrip Antimicrobial, which has an embedded silver-based treatment for protection; and the PopSockets x SOG PopGrip Multi-Tool, made in collaboration with SOG Speciality Knives, which includes a PopGrip with a detachable multi-tool.

The company didn’t share an exact time frame for these products besides “early 2021.”

#apple-inc, #ces, #ces-2021, #consumer-electronics-show, #gadgets, #iphone, #iphone-12, #iphone-12-pro, #magnet, #magsafe, #mobile-phones, #popsockets

Apple’s MagSafe Duo charger finally shows up in online stores

Today, Apple finally began selling and shipping the MagSafe Duo charger, an accessory that was announced alongside the new iPhone 12 lineup on October 13.

The MagSafe Duo is a charging pad that uses Qi wireless charging tech to charge two devices at once. Apple says it supports any Qi-enabled device but, of course, it specifically notes that the Duo can charge any two-device combination of an iPhone, an Apple Watch, or AirPods cases.

The MagSafe Duo charger is just one of a number of MagSafe accessories Apple announced in October. New iPhones have a magnet built into the back that is designed to allow chargers and cases to latch on, and MagSafe iPhones also have built-in sensors to detect what kind of accessory is being connected and communicate with it via NFC.

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#apple, #apple-store, #iphone-12, #magsafe, #magsafe-duo, #qi, #tech, #wireless-charging

iFixit tears down the iPhone 12 mini, shows how Apple crammed it all in

iFixit has posted its teardown of the iPhone 12 mini, and it found inside what seems clear from the outside: a smaller version of the iPhone 12, with no missing features or components. However, some of those components—most notably the battery—are a bit smaller than they are in this phone’s 6.1-inch big brother.

iFixit found that the battery measures in at 8.57Wh. For comparison, the iPhone SE—which actually has a larger body—has a smaller 6.96Wh battery, whereas the much larger iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro both have 10.78Wh batteries. This maps pretty closely to what battery tests have found: the iPhone 12 mini offers better battery life than an iPhone SE or iPhone 8, but it can’t beat its larger siblings.

Other shrunk-down components found by iFixit include a smaller Taptic Engine and loudspeaker. Also, some display-related components have been moved around, and there are only two display cables (compared to the iPhone 12’s three).

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#ifixit, #iphone-12, #iphone-12-mini, #teardown, #tech

iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro Max hands-on: How they compare with the 12 and 12 Pro

Two weeks ago, we published a double-review of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro—but those two phones were only half of Apple’s new lineup. The extra-small iPhone 12 mini and extra-large iPhone 12 Pro Max are out today, and we’ve spent some time with both of them.

We’ll go over the key differences between these two models and the phones we already reviewed—and only those key differences. Consider this a short supplement to the previously published iPhone 12 review; unless otherwise noted here, everything we wrote about the 12 applies to the 12 mini, and the same goes for the 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max.

For the most part, size is the only difference between these phones and the two 6.1-inch devices that shipped before. But there are some other differences—most notably, the iPhone 12 Pro Max has some camera improvements, which we’ll talk about.

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#apple, #gadgetology, #ios, #ios-14, #iphone-12, #iphone-12-mini, #iphone-12-pro, #iphone-12-pro-max, #tech

You can now order the tiny iPhone 12 mini or the gigantic iPhone 12 Pro Max

A woman gives a presentation in front of a giant video projector displaying two smartphones.

Enlarge / Apple introduces the iPhone 12 mini during a virtual event in October. (credit: Apple)

Starting today at 8am EST, Apple began taking preorders for the two new iPhone models it didn’t release earlier: the iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 12 Pro Max. At least the first orders placed today will begin arriving at consumers’ shipping addresses on November 13—next Friday.

The iPhone 12 mini is in most respects identical to the already-launched iPhone 12, except that it has a smaller, 5.4-inch screen instead of the iPhone 12’s 6.1-inch display. Because the iPhone 12 mini has very small bezels, the device’s footprint is actually slightly smaller than that of the current iPhone SE, which shares its chassis with the previously released iPhone 8.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max has additional distinctions from the iPhone 12 Pro besides screen real estate (the Max measures in at 6.7 inches to the standard Pro’s 6.1 inches). Namely, its rear camera specs differ, promising superior photo quality.

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#apple, #apple-store, #iphone, #iphone-12, #iphone-12-mini, #iphone-12-pro, #iphone-12-pro-max, #pre-orders, #preorders, #smartphones, #tech

A better look at Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone Mini

The various iterations of the new iPhone were announced 800 million years ago. Actually, wait, I just double checked — it was only about two or so weeks ago, but it turns out that time has no meaning anymore. Another cursory glance at my calendar tells me that, while the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro were released in late-October, not long after being announced, the iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone Mini, meanwhile, won’t be available for sale for another week or so.

You can check out Matthew’s substantial review of those middle of the line devices here. And while we wait for the low and high end of the line to arrive, I spent a little time with the devices and snapped a couple of photos with the products, which you can check out below.

Image Credits: Brian Heater

Again, we can talk more in-depth write-ups at some point in the future, likely, but for now a smattering of thoughts and images. Consider this a kind of make up for the sorts of hands-ons with products we used to do at Apple’s in-person events, back in the before times, when Apple had in-person events.

All of the four sizes were present and accounted for. As someone who’s been testing a fair number of large Android devices in recent months, the 6.7-inch Pro Max doesn’t appear exceptionally large. As you can see in that top photo, however, the difference between it and the Mini is pretty pronounced.

Image Credits: Brian Heater

It’s amazing how quickly our perceptions of screen sizes have shifted over the years, that a handset sporting a screen two inches larger than the original iPhone is now considered “mini” by a fairly considerable margin. Heck, even the 6-inch Pixel 5 I’ve been using off and on feels pretty small by today’s standards.

The standard iPhone 12 and 12 Pro’s 6.1-inch display seem like a pretty good sweet spot for many or most users. Many of the key specs are surprisingly consistent, given the $400 price difference between the high and low end. All sport 5G connectivity, the new magnetic MagSafe connector, OLED displays and an A14 chip.

Beyond size, storage and battery capacity, the big differentiator are the cameras. No huge surprise there, as that continues to be where most smartphone manufacturers are making their biggest strides. Here’s a chart we made to break down those distinctions:

The iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 12 Mini hit retail November 13.

#5g, #apple, #hardware, #iphone, #iphone-12, #mobile

Apple earnings show strong iPad and Mac sales can’t make up for the iPhone

An older man in a white polo shirt flashes a peace sign while walking outdoors.

Enlarge / Apple CEO Tim Cook. (credit: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Apple announced its fourth-quarter earnings today after the bell, and it was something of a strange quarter because, unlike some previous years (including last year), this quarter’s numbers did not include an iPhone launch. The iPhone 12’s various models ship in October and November instead of September this year.

CEO Tim Cook proudly announced double-digit YOY growth in all product categories besides iPhone on the call, but the iPhone is important: Apple’s total revenue was up only 1 percent year-over-year, with iPhone revenue down almost 21 percent.

While the iPhone didn’t help push up the bottom line, Apple did launch other products during the period, including the redesigned iPad Air and two Apple Watches: the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE. iPad revenue was up a substantial 46 percent YOY (it totaled $6.8 billion), and Mac revenue was also strong at $9 billion, or 28 percent more than the same quarter last year.

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iPhone 12 and 12 Pro double review: Playing Apple’s greatest hits

The iPhone 12 is like an album of Apple’s greatest iPhone hits. It combines the well-regarded design aesthetic of the iPhone 5, the promised generational leap in wireless technology of the iPhone 3G, and the dense camera system and large OLED screen of more modern flagships.

The iPhone 12 wraps up so many attractive features, in fact, that it makes it hard to recommend the iPhone 12 Pro to any but a very small number of people. There’s just not much to differentiate them, and that’s a good thing. The cheaper iPhone 12 is more than good enough for just about anyone.

That’s where things stand today, anyway. But it will all change again in a few weeks. The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are the middle children between the two models that will later generate the most buzz, I think—the iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

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#apple, #features, #gadgetology, #ios, #iphone, #iphone-12, #iphone-12-pro, #phone, #smartphone, #tech

Today is iPhone 12 and iPad Air launch day, but don’t expect speedy shipping

As previously announced, Apple has begun shipping orders of the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and redesigned iPad Air, with the first orders arriving today. This is the launch day for all three products, and new orders are no longer considered preorders on Apple’s website. The products are also available in Apple’s retail stores today.

Note, though, that today marks the day the first preorders are ending up in consumers’ hands. Shortly after these products went on sale, shipping dates for new online orders began to creep beyond the release date and into November. And at the time of this writing, new orders of the iPhone 12 Pro models are shipping in the United States between November 13 and 20, Apple’s website says, and the iPhone 12 is shipping between November 2 and 4. The iPad Air is shipping sometime between November 12 and 18.

Apple has yet to begin shipping the smallest and largest new iPhone models—the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini and the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max. Only the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are going out today. The other sizes will be available in November, Apple says, along with the new HomePod mini smart speaker.

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This Week in Apps: Apple’s big event, lidar comes to iPhone, Android gets a new IDE

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the TechCrunch series that recaps the latest OS news, the applications they support and the money that flows through it all.

The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 204 billion downloads and $120 billion in consumer spending in 2019. People are now spending three hours and 40 minutes per day using apps, rivaling TV. Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours — they’re a big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x higher than those without a mobile focus.

In this series, we help you keep up with the latest news from the world of apps, delivered on a weekly basis.

Top Story

Apple introduces four new iPhones (and more)

Apple hosted its iPhone event this week, where it introduced the new iPhone 12… and the iPhone 12 mini, the iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro Max — effectively plugging all the holes in the market. With the release of the four new iPhones, app developers will have a range of devices to build for, from small to very large — the 12 Pro Max, for example, introduces the iPhone’s biggest-ever screen and the highest resolution, at nearly 3.5M pixels.

It also, of course, includes serious camera improvements, from a redesign of the three-lens system to including a new deeper telephoto camera, now a 65 mm-equivalent instead of 52 mm, as on previous models. There’s also an improved wide-angle lens, larger sensor, the addition of sensor-level image stabilization and a revamped Night Mode. Photographers will appreciate the new Apple ProRAW format, as well. (More on that here).

The iPhone 12 mini, meanwhile, aims to serve the customer base that prefers a smaller phone, like the iPhone SE, but without sacrificing functionality.

All the devices share some key features, including 5G connectivity, the new MagSafe connector for wireless charging and snap-on magnetic accessories, OLED displays and the A14 chip. They also have a more classic look, with straight edges that allow for additional antennas, providing next-gen wireless connectivity.

One of the bigger differences, however, between the Pro models and the regular iPhone 12 is the addition of the LiDAR Scanner, which is also found in the latest iPad Pro. The scanner measures how long it takes for light to reach an object and reflect back. The new depth-sensing technology has big implications for AR, as it allows augmented reality objects to interact with objects in the real world. AR apps will be more user-friendly, too, as they won’t need to first scan the room to place the AR object in the real world. It can be placed instantly.

Apple is leveraging the sensor for the iPhone 12 Pro camera to offer up to 6x faster focus in low-light conditions. Developers, meanwhile, can leverage lidar for use cases like AR-enabled games that work in the real world, social media (like Snapchat’s new lidar-powered Lens), home design and improvement apps involving room scans, spatial layout planning (like JigSpace), better AR shopping experiences and more.

The company also announced an affordable version of its HomePod smart speaker, the $99 HomePod Mini. The item works best for those fully locked inside the Apple universe, as it will stream a handful of music services, but not one of the most popular — Spotify. However, Apple also introduced a nifty feature for the HomePod devices, Intercom, which lets you send announcements across the speakers. While Apple and Google have offered a similar feature for their smart speakers, Intercom also works across other Apple devices, including iPhone, iPod, AirPods and even CarPlay. (What, no Mac?)

If Apple isn’t too late to capture smart speaker market share, the new speaker could see more users adopting smart home devices they can voice control through the HomePod Mini.

During the event, Apple also subtly snubbed its nose at Epic’s Fortnite with the announcement that
League of Legends: Wild Rift would be coming to iPhone 12 to take advantage of its new 5G capabilities and A14 Bionic chip.

Weekly News Round-Up

Platforms

  • Lidar comes to iPhone 12 Pro. Developers can now build AR experiences that interact with real-world objects, and AR apps can now instantly place AR objects in the real world without scanning the room. The update will mean a huge increase in the usability of AR apps but is limited to the Pro model of iPhone for now. Snapchat is already using it.
  • Apple developers can now make their apps available for pre-order even earlier — up to 180 days before release on the App Store.
  • Android Studio 4.1 launches. The new, stable version of the IDE for building Android apps introduces better TensorFlow Lite support and a new database inspector. The team also fixed a whopping 2,370 bugs during this release cycle and closed 275 public issues.
  • Google introduces the Android for Cars library. The library, now in open beta, gives developers tools to design, develop and test new navigation, parking or charging apps for Android Auto. The Google Play Store will be enabled for publishing beta apps in the “coming months.”
  • Google stops selling music. The company no longer sells tracks and albums on its Play Store, shifting all its focus to YouTube Music. The latter also just launched on Apple Watch this week.

Trends

  • Shopping apps forecast. U.S. consumers were expected to spend 60M hours in Android shopping apps during Prime Day week, (which just wrapped) according to one forecast from App Annie.
  • Prime Day downloads grow. Sensor Tower estimates global installs of the Amazon app grew 23% year-over-year, to 684K, as Prime Day neared. Installs on Wednesday were up 33% to 750K. However, U.S. installs were down by 22% 10/13-10/14. Apptopia noted that app sessions, however, were up 27% year-over-year.
  • Shopping, Food & Drink app launches up more than 50% year-over-year. Shopping apps grew 52% while Food & Drink apps grew 60%, due to COVID-19 impacts, according to Sensor Tower.
  • Subscriptions. U.S. consumers spend $20.78 per month on app subscriptions, Adjust study says.
  • TikTok sale impact on ad industry. 73% of marketers said a TikTok sale in the U.S. would impact their 2021 advertising plans. 41% also believed the deal could allow Walmart to overtake Amazon in e-commerce.
  • Amazon expands AR experimentation to its boxes. The retailer launched a new AR application that works with QR codes on the company’s shipping boxes to create “interactive, shareable” AR experiences, like a pumpkin that comes to life.

Security

  • Robinhood said a “limited number” of its users’ accounts were hacked. The service itself was not hacked, but around 2,000 customers had accounts compromised by cybercriminals who first compromised users’ personal emails outside the trading app.

Other News

  • Zoom’s new events platform brings apps to video conferencing calls.
  • Messenger update brings new features, including cross-app communication with Instagram. The app gets fun features like chat themes, custom reactions and, soon, selfie stickers and vanish mode. But the bigger news is the (potentially anti-competitive) merging of Facebook’s chat platforms.
  • Life360 leverages TikTok teens’ complaints to start a dialogue and invent a new feature, “Bubbles,” which allows teens (or anyone) to share a generalized location instead of an exact one. The feature gives teens a bit more freedom to roam and make choices without so much parental oversight. Parents, meanwhile, can still be sure their teen is OK, as features like emergency SOS and crash alerts remain functional.
  • Must-read: The MacStories iOS and iPadOS 14 Review. Federico Viticci offers a 23-page deep dive into the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system.

Funding and M&A

    • Future raises $24M Series B for its $150/mo workout coaching app amid at-home fitness boom. The app pairs users with real-life fitness coaching for personal training at home. The round was led by Trustbridge Partners with Caffeinated Capital and Series A investors Kleiner Perkins participating.
    • River raises $10.4M for its app offering news, events and other happenings from around the web, ranging from news stories from top publishers to sports to even notable tweets. The app presents the information in a real-time stream, browsed vertically. There’s also a “For You” page, similar to TikTok.
    • Roblox confidentially filed with the SEC to go public. This cross-platform gaming platform has boomed during coronavirus lockdowns. According to reports, the listing could double Robox’s $4B valuation.
    • Robo Adviser Wealthsimple raises $87M. The funding for the investing app with comparisons to Robinhood was led by Menlo Park-based Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV), valuing the business at $1B.
    • Fitness platform Playbook raises $9.3M. The company offers tools for personal trainers who want to make their own videos, which consumers then browse in Playbook’s mobile app. Backers include E.ventures, Michael Ovitz, Abstract, Algae Ventures, Porsche Ventures and FJ Labs.
    • Live streaming app Moment House raises $1.5M seed. The startup aims to recreate live events in a digital format. LA area investors invested, including Scooter Braun, Troy Carter, Kygo’s Palm Tree Crew and Jared Leto. Patreon chief executive Jack Conte and Sequoia Capital partner Jess Lee also participated.
    • Twilio acquires Segment for $3.2B to help developers build data-fueled apps.
    • E-learning platform Kahoot raises $215M from SoftBank. The Norwegian startup claims to have hosted 1.3 billion “participating players” in the last 12 months. The company’s gamified e-learning platform is used both in schools and in enterprise environments.

Downloads

Mycons

Mycons is a new app that makes it easier for users, including non-designers, to create and buy custom icons for their iOS home screen makeovers. In the app’s “Icon Studio,” users can create icons by swapping out the background, choosing a symbol and placing it on the icon accordingly. You can also create a whole set of icons in a batch export. If you don’t feel like designing your own, you can opt to purchase premade packs instead.

The app is a free download with a one-time, in-app purchase to unlock the fully functionality of the icon designer. The icon packs, which include different variations and matching wallpaper, range from $7.99-$9.99.

Spotify’s new iOS 14 widget

Image Credits: TechCrunch screenshot of Spotify widget

It’s here! The widget a number of people have waited for since the launch of the new version of iOS has arrived. 

The widget, which arrives in the latest version of the Spotify iOS app, comes in two sizes. The smaller widget will display just your most recently listened to item, while the medium-sized widget will instead show the five most recent items — four in a horizontal row and the most recent at the top. In that case, you can actually tap on the small thumbnail for which of the five you want to now stream to be taken directly to that page in the Spotify app. The widget also automatically updates its background color to match the thumbnail photo.

#android, #android-studio, #app-store, #apple, #apple-inc, #apps, #ar, #google-play-store, #homepod, #ios, #ios-14, #ipad, #iphone, #iphone-12, #league-of-legends, #mobile-app, #operating-system, #operating-systems, #play-store, #smartphones, #tc, #this-week-in-apps

iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPad Air orders have begun

Preorders began today for three major new Apple products: the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPad Air. All these devices are available for order on Apple’s website, but none is shipping right away.

The planned ship dates for all of these devices was October 23, but some are already backed up into November. In some cases, it depends on the configuration that you choose. At the time of this writing, some iPhone 12 and iPad Air configurations are shipping later, but others are still listing October 23 as the ship date. On the other hand, every iPhone 12 Pro configuration we looked at promises to ship either later in October or sometime in November.

Additionally, Apple seems to have normalized the cost of the iPhone across all carriers after an initial uproar about the phone being announced at a slightly cheaper price point on AT&T and Verizon.

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What the iPhone 12 tells us about the state of the smartphone industry in 2020

The smartphone industry was in transition well before COVID-19 was a blip on anyone’s radar. More than 13 years after the launch of the original iPhone, these products have long since transitioned from luxury items to commodities, losing some of their luster in the process. The past several years have seen slower upgrade cycles as consumers grew reluctant to pay $1,000 or more for new devices.

And while the iPhone 12 was no doubt in development long before the current pandemic, the pandemic’s global shutdown has only exacerbated many existing problems for smartphone makers. The clearest representation of Apple’s reaction is in the sheer number of iPhones announced at today’s “Hi Speed” event. Long gone are the days when a company could rest on a single flagship or two.

Today’s event brought a grand total of four new iPhone models, ranging in price from $699 to $1,099: the 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max. As with the Apple Watch, the company is keeping last year’s iPhone 11 around and has cut the price to $599. That puts the older model in the high-mid-range for Android devices, but represents a far cheaper entry point than we’re accustomed to for Apple phones.

#5g, #apple, #apple-iphone-event-2020, #artificial-intelligence, #covid-19, #hardware, #iphone, #iphone-12, #mobile

Verizon “nationwide” 5G ready for iPhone 12—don’t expect a big speed boost

Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg speaking on stage in front of a coverage map.

Enlarge / Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg at Apple’s iPhone 12 event. (credit: Apple)

Verizon today announced “nationwide” 5G coverage along with support for the new 5G-enabled iPhones. But for most consumers, Verizon’s 5G upgrade won’t make much of a difference.

The newly enabled 5G runs on the same spectrum bands used by Verizon for 4G, so it won’t be nearly as fast as Verizon’s millimeter-wave version of 5G. Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said in May that 5G users on the non-millimeter-wave bands will see only a “small” upgrade at first.

“Nationwide” doesn’t mean it’s available everywhere, either. As Verizon said in its announcement today, nationwide means that Verizon 5G “is available today to more than 200 million people in 1,800 cities around the US.” That definition satisfies a standard set by the National Advertising Division, which is the advertising industry’s self-regulatory body. NAD says that, in general, “a wireless network can claim to be nationwide or coast to coast if the provider offers service in diverse regions of the country and the network covers at least 200 million people.”

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#5g, #biz-it, #iphone-12, #tech, #verizon

Apple’s iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max: what’s the difference?

Gone are the days a company like Apple could simply roll out a single flagship handset or two. Consumer demands have evolved quite a bit in the more than 13 years since the company released its first smartphone, and its offerings have had to evolve with it. That means now, more than ever, offering a broad range of choice in terms of feature set, size and price.

Apple actually announced four phones at today’s event: the iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max. Add to that the fact that the company is keeping the 11 around at a lower price point, and that leaves iOS devotees with more options than ever when it comes to purchasing a new handset, with starting prices ranging from $599 to $1,099. And, of course, configurations go up from there.

All of the new devices announced today share some key common features: 5G connectivity, the new magnetic MagSafe connector, OLED displays and the A14 chip, for starters. They also get the new iPad Pro-style design, complete with straight edges that allow for the placement of additional antennas for the next-gen wireless connectivity. From there, however, things get more complicated. There’s a range here in size, cameras and capacity for starters.

Here’s a handy chart to keep it all straight:

#apple, #apple-iphone-event-2020, #hardware, #iphone, #iphone-12, #mobile

Apple announces iPhone 12, now with 5G

Today, Apple announced the iPhone 12 with 5G wireless capability. The phone is an aluminum and glass sandwich that looks a lot like the iPhone 4.

The iPhone 12 has a 6.1-inch display, but it’s the same size as the iPhone 11, so it’s 15 percent smaller, and 11 percent thinner than last year’s iPhone 11. The screen is an OLED display, and Apple has teamed up with Corning to make a new display cover material called a “Ceramic Sheild.” Apple claims it is tougher than any other smartphone glass.

One of the headlines additions to the new iPhone is the addition of 5G connectivity, which has been hyped up by the carriers as the next big thing in smartphones. The quick primer is that there are two kinds of 5G: a potentially very fast “mmWave” network (Verizon calls this “Ultra Wideband”) that is short range, has poor signal characteristics, and is hard to roll out, and a “sub 6GHz” 5G, which is closer to an iterative step of 4G, with better signal characteristics, and a better shot of a world-wide rollout but with less of a revolutionary speed increase.

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This is the iPhone 12

It took a bit longer than usual (thank COVID-19 from some insurmountable manufacturing delays), but the iPhone 12 is here. And as expected, it comes bearing 5G. The latest version of Apple’s smartphone also arrives in a variety of different sizes, as the company continues to adjust to changing consumer purchasing patterns around mobile devices.

The inclusion of next-gen wireless is, of course, the flagship feature here. Apple is far from the first company to offer 5G on a handset, but given a bit of a bottleneck in adoption given the extremely odd year we’ve been experiencing. According to recent numbers from Canalys, only 13% of handsets shipping in the first half of the year were 5G capable. That means there’s a long way to go, and Apple finally adopting the tech will certainly move the needle. CEO Tim Cook kicked off the announcement by inviting Verizon (TC’s parent co.) on stage to sell the carrier’s UWB take on the tech and announce that it’s gone “nationwide.”

Developing…

 

#apple, #apple-iphone-event-2020, #hardware, #iphone, #iphone-12, #mobile

The iPhone 12 and HomePod mini leak ahead of today’s big Apple event

I guess maybe don’t read this if you like being surprised. Though you already read the headline and saw the first image, so you might as well keep keep going, right? And this is an Apple event we’re talking about, so surely there will be a surprise or two left. What we have here are a bunch of photos of the headliners of today’s big “Hi Speed” Apple event. Courtesy of perennial smartphone leaker Evan Blass, the shots appear to confirm the arrival of the iPhone 12 and HomePod Mini in a matter of hours.

There aren’t a lot of details attached — though, thanks to earlier rumors and leaks we seem to have a pretty good idea of what we’re in for at today’s event. Apple’s long-standing devotion to the notch is still front and center, and the flat-sided, iPad Pro design appears to be present, though we’re looking at the front and back straight on for all of these (more or less the same renderings, with subtle differences).

All four of the expected versions are present and accounted for: the 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max. Prices are expected to range from $699 to $1,099. Screen sizes, meanwhile, go from 5.4 to 6.7 inches (which both the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro sitting in the middle at 6.1 inches). The Pro and Pro Max sport a three camera set up (versus the 12 and 12 mini’s two), along with an additional LiDAR sensor like the kind added to the iPad Pro earlier this year.

There are a number of color to chose from, including black, white and a navy Blue. There’s also a mint green on the lower-end models, along with Product (RED) versions, while the pricier models come in gold and graphite.

Image Credits: Evan Blass

We’ve also got a good look at the profile of the new HomePod mini. Apple delivered great sound with its premium smart speaker, but the $349 Siri system was price prohibitive for many. Rumored to cost $99, the would offer a much more accessible method for getting the HomeKit Hub into homes — or, perhaps, augmenting existing HomePod set ups. Much like the mini versions of Google and Amazon’s own speakers, however, it seems fairly likely some of that room-filling sound will be sacrificed for size and price.

The model is spherical, like the new Echo and sports a similar mesh speaker grille as the standard HomePod. It also borrows that device’s colorful Siri light up top, along with a pair of volume buttons.

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Watch Apple unveil the new iPhone live right here

Apple is set to announce new iPhone models today. The company is holding a (virtual) keynote at 10 AM PT (1 PM in New York, 6 PM in London, 7 PM in Paris). And you’ll be able to watch the event right here as the company is streaming it live.

Rumor has it that there will be four versions of the iPhone 12, including a “mini” phone with a 5.4-inch display, an iPhone 12, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max. The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro could share the same 6.1-inch display, while the iPhone 12 Pro Max could feature a 6.7-inch display.

You can expect some models with 5G networking capabilities. While the company will likely spend time explaining why 5G is faster than 4G, remember that many carriers have yet to roll out their 5G networks beyond some testing cities.

But that’s not all. Apple could also unveil a wireless charging pad. This time, it’s not going to be named AirPower. The company could bring back the name MagSafe for the accessory.

On the audio front, many people believe that Apple has been working on over-ear headphones. It would fit well in the AirPods lineup. Apple could also use this opportunity to launch a smaller, cheaper HomePod.

You can watch the live stream directly on this page, as Apple is streaming its conference on YouTube.

If you have an Apple TV, you can download the Apple Events app in the App Store. It lets you stream today’s event and rewatch old ones. The app icon was updated a few days ago for the event.

And if you don’t have an Apple TV and don’t want to use YouTube, the company also lets you live stream the event from the Apple Events section on its website. This video feed now works in all major browsers — Safari, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

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What to expect from Apple’s ‘Hi Speed’ iPhone event

For starters, iPhones, of course. That one was easy. The company skipped out on new mobile devices during its recent Apple Watch event, owing to COVID-19-related delays. And, of course, the fact that the events are all pre-taped and virtual now means companies can more easily split them up in ways that were harder to justify when people were expected to fly in from all over the world.

That doesn’t mean we won’t be getting more than just a phone (or, more like multiple phones). While Apple’s been more inclined to host more, smaller events, there’s a decent chance this is going to be the last major event the company hosts before the holidays. That means it’s going to want to get a lot of bang for its buck this time out.

The iPhone 12 is expected to be the centerpiece, of course. The headline feature will almost certainly be 5G. Apple’s been a little behind the curve on that front versus its Android competitors (Samsung, for instance, has several devices with next-gen wireless), though another knock-on effect from the pandemic has been a slower than expected adoption of the tech. So in some ways, Apple’s really right on time here. In the U.S., the company is said to offer both the mmWave and sub-6Ghz 5G technologies. Availability may vary depending on the needs of a given market.

Rumors point to a bunch of different models. After all, gone are the days a company like Apple could just offer up a big premium device and be done with it. Sales for high-end devices were already drying up well before the virus came along to bring smartphone sales to a screeching halt there for a bit. People were already tired of paying in excess of $1,000 for new phones when the ones they already had still did the job perfectly fine.

There are supposedly four sizes arriving. There will be higher-end devices at 6.1 and 6.7 inches, and more budget-minded devices at 6.1 and 5.4 inches. It’s a pretty broad price range, from $699 for the “mini” to $1,099 and up for the Pro Max (sandwiched between are the $799 iPhone 12 and $999 Pro). Along with its recently expanded Watch line, Apple’s all about choice this time out.

Reportedly, however, the company will be bringing OLED tech to all of the models, marking a pretty big change from the days of LCD-sporting budget models. The new models are expected to get a welcome redesign, reportedly returning to something more in line with the iPhone 5. The rounded edges are expected to be dropped in favor of a flatter design, akin to what you get on the iPad Pro.

Other interesting potential additions include the return of the company’s dearly departed MagSafe life for a pair of wireless charging pads that will hopefully finally lay to rest any memory of the failed AirPower experiment. Available for one or two devices, the new pads will reportedly leverage magnets built into the phones to snap them in place.

Music has always been a cornerstone for the company, and it’s long overdue for some updates to audio products. This time out, we may finally get the long-awaited AirPods Studio, an over-ear addition to its line of headphones. The models are set to come in two variations, the largest variation being build materials. A smaller version of its smart speaker could be on the way, as well. The HomePod has long been cost-prohibitive for many, so a mini version could finally make it a bit more accessible.

Another long-rumored addition — AirTags — could finally arrive, as well. Apple’s product-tracking Tile competitor has been in the cards for some time now, but has repeatedly been delayed. That may still be the case — and same goes for a refresh to Apple TV. With the company’s subscription service about to celebrate its year anniversary, it could really use some updated hardware. New Macs with Apple-built chips could be on the table, as well, though the company is reportedly planning one more 2020 event for that big launch.

The event kicks off tomorrow at 10AM PT/1PM ET. We’ll be watching along with you, bringing you the news as it breaks.

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Liveblog: All the news from Apple’s “Hi, Speed” event

An Apple logo is surrounded by colorful concentric circles.

Enlarge / The promotional key art graphic Apple sent out with its announcement about its October 13, 2020, product launch event. (credit: Apple)

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At 10:00am Pacific time (1pm Eastern) on Tuesday, October 13, Apple will hold its second live event in less than a month—almost certainly to announce new iPhones this time, after the previous event focused on iPads and the Apple Watch.

Ars Technica will be liveblogging the event and publishing the major announcements in real time as usual. Return to this page when the event starts to follow the updates.

This event carries the tagline “Hi, Speed,” which could refer to any number of things: 5G modems in new phones, the faster A14 chip that was already introduced last month, or even Apple Silicon in the first non-Intel Mac in many years.

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What to expect from Apple’s October 13 “Hi, Speed” event

An Apple logo is surrounded by colorful concentric circles.

Enlarge / The promotional key art graphic Apple sent out with its announcement about its October 13, 2020, product launch event. (credit: Apple)

Here we are again, less than one month after Apple’s September 15 event. Next Tuesday, October 13, Apple representatives will take to the streaming stage to announce new products in an event the company has monikered “Hi, Speed.” But what can we expect from the event?

Normally, Apple launches iPhones at a September event, but it didn’t this year, possibly because of COVID-related delays in its testing of the new devices. Rather, the September event was primarily about the Apple Watch (there was also a new, redesigned iPad Air, along with some services announcements and a slightly modified non-Air, non-Pro, non-mini iPad).

All that is to say that iPhones are very likely to be the stars of Apple’s October show. Let’s get into what to expect from them—and what else we might see at the event.

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“Hi, Speed”: Apple’s October 13 event is expected to reveal iPhone 12

“Hi, Speed”: Apple’s October 13 event is expected to reveal iPhone 12

Enlarge (credit: Apple)

Apple normally introduces each year’s new iPhone model at a September event, but the iPhone was conspicuously missing from Apple’s September 15 event this year. That event focused on other products, including a new iPad and a new Apple Watch.

Now Apple has announced an October 13 event—that’s a week from today—with the tagline “Hi, Speed.” It will begin at 10am Pacific Time.

The announcement doesn’t specifically mention the iPhone, but it’s a safe bet that Apple will introduce the new iPhone 12 lineup at the event. And we have a lot of information from fairly reliable sources about Apple’s new phones. Here’s how Ars Technica’s Sam Axon described the expected lineup last month:

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Apple’s September 15 “Time Flies” event: What to expect

Interior of Google HQ.

Enlarge / Two identical stairwells at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple’s Cupertino campus, where the company now hosts many of its product reveals. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Every September, Apple unveils its new lineup of iPhone and Apple Watch devices in a live event with press, influencers, and industry figures present—or does it? This year, we’re not quite certain.

Last week, the northern California tech giant put out invitations to a video stream from the Steve Jobs Theater (the location on the company’s new campus where it normally hosts people in person) to announce some new products. The tagline was “Time Flies”—and we’ll get into some interpretations of that in a moment—but time sure isn’t flying for most onlookers, as we move into the ninth month of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And because of that pandemic’s effect on Apple’s operations, there have been a few scattered reports that the company may not manage to ship its new iPhones in the September window it usually targets, even as there are other conflicting rumors indicating that yes, iPhones are indeed coming this month.

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New report details Apple’s plan for iPhones (and other gadgets) this year

A new report from Bloomberg’s Debby Wu and Mark Gurman says that Apple tasked its suppliers with building “at least 75 million” 5G iPhones. That’s in the ballpark of what was produced last year, so Apple is expecting strong sales despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More interesting for our purposes here, though, are tidbits about what those iPhones—and other Apple products planned for release this year—look like.

Citing people familiar with the situation, the Bloomberg story claims that Apple has a busy holiday season ahead of it. The sources say that Apple plans to launch four 5G iPhone models, a new iPad Air, two new Apple Watch models, over-ear headphones, and a new HomePod speaker. They also allude to a modestly updated Apple TV 4K and the long-rumored AirTags product, but the story did not claim that those are coming this year.

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Apple’s new high-end iPhones will feature an iPhone 5-like design

The rounded corners and flat edges of the iPad Pro, which the new flagship iPhones are said to mimic.

Enlarge / The rounded corners and flat edges of the iPad Pro, which the new flagship iPhones are said to mimic. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Apple will introduce four new iPhones this fall, according to a Bloomberg report, and at least some of them will sport a new design reminiscent of the 2018 and 2020 iPad Pro models or the iPhone 5.

Citing people familiar with Apple’s plans, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman writes that in addition to successors to 2019’s iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, Apple will introduce not one but two successors to the iPhone 11. However, the report does not go into as much detail about the lower-end phones as it does the flagships.

The 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max successors will have “flat, stainless steel edges… as well as sharply rounded corners” similar to what you may remember from the iPhone 5 back in 2012, and likely taking much more explicit cues from the iPad Pro design first introduced in 2018 and refreshed just a few weeks ago. They will also have flat screens rather than the curved edges found in today’s iPhones, and smaller notches on the front. Also, at least the larger of the two flagships will have a slightly larger screen than its predecessor.

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Apple plans to add a rear-facing 3D sensor to a new iPhone

A woman uses a smartphone to take a photo.

Enlarge / A user tries out features in Apple’s ARKit. (credit: Apple)

Citing a source with knowledge about Apple’s new iPhones, Fast Company writes that Apple will introduce a rear-facing 3D sensor array to new iPhone models. Apple plans to buy the laser components for this array from Lumentum, the California-based company from which it already buys the front-facing TrueDepth lasers found in today’s iPhones.

The publication’s source says that Apple engineers have been working on the rear-facing 3D camera for two years, and it is currently planned for inclusion in at least one model later this year. However, the timing could still change.

Apple is not alone in including this feature in 2020 flagship phones. Samsung’s new Galaxy S20+ and S20 Ultra, announced just last month, have rear-facing time-of-flight (ToF) sensors. They are used for Live Focus (which is an optional blur effect in photos) and Quick Measure (which allows users to measure objects in front of them).

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