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Tim Hardwick

Apple News Launches Candidate Guide to the 2020 Democratic Debates

Apple today announced a Democratic presidential candidate guide for Apple News, offering users what it describes as “a timely, trusted and comprehensive look at the 20 individuals participating in the first Democratic debates.”

Curated by a team …

Oppo Unveils 'World's First' Under-Screen Front-Facing Camera

Chinese mobile maker Oppo today unveiled its solution to the ubiquitous smartphone display notch – the “word’s first” Under-Screen Camera (USC).


The fullscreen display-enabling technology was demonstrated to the public at Shanghai’s Mobile World Congress, following a teaser earlier this month.

According to Oppo, the selfie camera is embedded under a section of the display that’s made of a highly transparent custom material with a special pixel structure, which enables light to pass through to the lens.

The selfie camera is also said to be larger than other front-facing cameras, featuring a wider aperture lens in front of the sensor.

The company has already admitted that putting a camera under the screen will make it harder to match the quality of an unobstructed smartphone camera.

To compensate, however, Oppo said it has developed software algorithms that address haze, glare, and color cast issues, resulting in pictures that are “on par with mainstream devices.”

We won’t know how accurate that claim is until the tech hits the market, and it’s still not clear exactly when the under-screen camera will debut in a consumer product, but the company says it plans to launch a device featuring its USC “in the near future.”

OPPO’s brand new solution for full-screen display – Under-screen Camera (USC) has just been unveiled here at #MWC19 Shanghai! 🤯 #MoreThanTheSeen pic.twitter.com/c1FUEbXS0P

— OPPO (@oppo) June 26, 2019

This isn’t the first time Oppo has tried to innovate in the mobile camera space. The company in February introduced a 10x optical zoom camera system for smartphones, and just last month unveiled its latest flagship OnePlus 7 Pro phone, which features a bezel-free display and pop-up selfie camera.

Apple’s 2019 iPhones are widely expected to include a triple rear camera system featuring wide, telephoto, and ultra-wide lenses. The display notch, which houses Apple’s TrueDepth camera and Face ID tech, will almost certainly remain.

Tag: Oppo

This article, “Oppo Unveils ‘World’s First’ Under-Screen Front-Facing Camera” first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Apple Pay Launches in 13 Additional European Countries

Apple Pay is officially going live in 13 additional countries today, including Greece, Portugal, Romania, and Slovakia, bringing Apple’s mobile payment system to millions more users across Europe.

Finally #ApplePay is available in Romania &#x1f64…

Apple's Oscar-Winning Ambitions to be Spearheaded By Six Original Movies a Year, With a Budget up to $30 Million per Film

Apple plans to produce six small-budget movies a year with an eye toward stories that could win Academy Awards, according to The New York Post.


The Post‘s sources claim Apple wants to spend between $5-$30 million on each movie, and that it has already approached “elevated” directors and other film talent about bankrolling projects with Oscar-winning potential.

Apple is looking to spend $5 million to $30 million per project, sources said, adding that the company is being driven by Netflix’s recent spate of Oscar nominations and win for Best Foreign Film with “Roma” — legitimizing Netflix head Reed Hastings’ standing in Hollywood.

“They are taking meetings and hiring,” one agency source said of Apple, adding that the meetings are being generated by the company’s original feature films unit, headed by Matt Dentler, formerly of iTunes Movies.

According to the report, Apple’s search for six small-budget movies is not related to its multiyear agreement to make films with A23, the studio that produced the Oscar-winning “Moonlight.”

Apple is working on dozens of original TV shows and movies with high-profile directors, producers, and actors, with all of that content set to be available through a new Apple TV+ app that’s going to be released this fall. Check out our dedicated roundup to learn everything that we know so far about Apple’s new streaming TV service.

This article, “Apple’s Oscar-Winning Ambitions to be Spearheaded By Six Original Movies a Year, With a Budget up to $30 Million per Film” first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Data Extraction Company Cellebrite Touts New Software for Cracking iPhones and iPads Running up to iOS 12.3

Israel-based software developer Cellebrite, known for breaking into mobile devices like the iPhone to obtain sensitive data, has announced that it can now unlock any iOS device running up to iOS 12.3, which was released only a month ago.

The firm …

Germany Says iPhones Running iOS 13 Will Be Able to Read NFC Tags in National ID Cards and Passports

When iOS 13 arrives, iPhones will be able to read a wider range of Near Field Communication (NFC) tags, including the NFC tags often used in official documentation. Last week, The Verge reported that Japan had confirmed its national identity cards woul…

Amazon Surpasses Apple and Google to Become World's Most Valuable Brand

Apple surpassed Google but Amazon usurped both tech giants to become the world’s most valuable brand in market research firm Kantar’s annual BrandZ brand value report.


According to the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brand ranking 2019 [PDF], the ecommerce giant saw its brand value rise to $315.5 billion, beating second-placed Apple’s $309.5 billion evaluation and Google’s $309 billion in third. Apple’s brand value saw a 3 percent rise over last year, while Google saw a 2 percent rise, but Amazon outshone both with a whopping 52 percent gain.

Amazon’s rise to the top spot ends a Google-Apple duopoly that began in 2007 when Google surpassed Microsoft to capture the No. 1 rank. Apple and Google had since jostled amongst each other for the position, but Google took the top spot from Apple in 2018.

Doreen Wang, Kantar’s global head of BrandZ, told CNBC that Amazon’s jump was due to it selling a variety of services.

“Amazon’s phenomenal brand value growth of almost $108 billion in the last year demonstrates how brands are now less anchored to individual categories and regions. The boundaries are blurring as technology fluency allow brands, such as Amazon, Google and Alibaba, to offer a range of services across multiple consumer touchpoints.”

The top ten most valuable global brands in the report is made up almost entirely of technology and telecom companies, with Microsoft, Visa, Facebook, Alibaba Group, Tencent, McDonald’s, and AT&T rounding off the top ten after Amazon, Apple, and Google.

To qualify for the ranking, brands must be publicly traded, or publish their financial results. BrandZ’s list uses measures of brand equity based on interviews with over 3 million consumers about thousands of brands, with analysis of each company and financial performance, using data from Kantar Worldpanel.

Brandz is one of several brand rankings released each year, with others including Forbes and Interbrand. Apple has consistently performed well in these studies over the past decade as its revenue has ballooned on the strength of iPhone sales, but the company is increasingly looking to subscription services, original content, and other untapped markets to prop up its business in the face of the recent downturn in the global smartphone market.

This article, “Amazon Surpasses Apple and Google to Become World’s Most Valuable Brand” first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Apple Pay Launches in The Netherlands With Dutch Bank ING

Apple Pay officially went live in The Netherlands today, with Dutch bank ING leading the charge to bring Apple’s digital payment system to debit and credit card users in the country.

With Apple Pay on iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad and Mac, ING bank cu…

Apple Considering Less Disruptive Siri Behavior in Future Version of iPadOS

Say “Hey Siri” when using an iPad, and Apple’s virtual assistant will take over the entirety of the display, obscuring whatever you were doing on the device. Say the same thing to your Mac, however, and Siri responds in a more multitasking-friendly way…

Safari on iPadOS Optimized to Work With at Least Some Desktop Versions of Websites

Apple’s upcoming iPadOS is designed to bring more desktop-class functionality to iPads with bigger screens, and as part of that aim, Safari is receiving a major overhaul that will enable it to display desktop versions of websites.

In the first ins…

Apple's Big Push to Improve Accessibility in iOS 13, iPadOS, and macOS Catalina

Apple is introducing several accessibility-friendly features with iOS 13, iPadOS, and macOS Catalina, including Voice Control, Hover Text, and Mouse Pointer Support for iPhones and iPads.

After the company’s WWDC keynote on Monday, TechCrunch‘s iOS accessibility expert Steven Aquino sat down with Apple’s Sarah Herrlinger, director of Global Accessibility Policy & Initiatives, who offered further details on the thinking behind Apple’s latest, and arguably greatest, accessibility push.

Voice Control

Herrlinger first opened up about Apple’s new Voice Control feature, which earned its own slide space during Craig Federighi’s onstage presentation. Voice Control supports editing and menu navigation in both macOS Catalina and iOS 13, but it was the feature’s advanced dictation capabilities that Herrlinger was most eager to highlight.

For example, Herrlinger explained how you can say “show numbers” in Safari’s Favorites view and little numbers, corresponding to the number of favorites you have, show up beside a website’s favicon. Say TechCrunch is No. 2 in your list of favorites. If the glyph is hard to make out visually, saying “open 2” will prompt Voice Control to launch TechCrunch’s page. Likewise, you can say “show grid” and a grid will appear so you perform actions such as clicking, tapping or pinching-and-zooming.

Herrlinger said Apple has worked hard to improve Voice Control’s speech detection system, so that it can more adeptly parse users with different types of speech, such as those who stutter.

On iOS, the feature also utilizes attention awareness to know when a user with physical motor limitations is interacting with their device. Allaying privacy concerns, Apple says that none of the audio processed by Voice Control can be accessed by anyone else, including Apple, thanks to built-in anonymity and encryption.

Hover Text for macOS

Another feature Herrlinger was keen to demo was something called Hover Text on macOS. Described as a subset of the existing Zoom functionality, Hover Text enables the user to place the mouse pointer over a selection of text to get a bubble with the text enlarged.

Herrlinger told me the feature works system-wide, even in places like the menu bar. And yes, Hover Text is indeed customizable; users have access to a wide variety of fonts and colors to make Hover Text’s “bubbles” their own. Text size can be enlarged up to 128pt, Herrlinger said. What this means is users can play with different permutations of the feature to find which label(s) work best — say, a yellow background with dark blue text set in Helvetica for the highest contrast. The possibilities are virtually endless, a testament to how rich the feature is despite its simplicity.

According to Herrlinger, Apple could have brought iOS feature Dynamic Type to the Mac, but found Hover Text accomplished the same goal of enlarging text in a way that felt better suited to its desktop operating system.

Mouse Support for iPhone and iPad

iPadOS and iOS 13 introduces mouse support for the first time, allowing a USB mouse to be connected to an iPad and iPhone for the first time.

Mouse support is not a standard feature, but is instead available as an AssistiveTouch option, designed for users with physical motor delays who can’t easily interact with the touchscreen itself. Apple says it works with both USB and Bluetooth mice, although the company doesn’t yet have an official compatibility list. According to developer Steve Troughton-Smith, who first discovered the feature, it also works with the Apple Magic Trackpad.

When I asked why build pointer support into a touch-based operating system, Herrlinger was unequivocal in her answer: it serves a need in the accessibility community. “This is not your old desktop cursor as the primary input method,” she said.

The reality is, it’s not your secondary choice, either. The bottom line is that, while Apple loves the idea of accessibility features being adopted by the mainstream, pointer support in iOS 13 and iPadOS really isn’t the conventional PC input mechanism at all. In this case, it’s a niche feature that should suit a niche use case; it’s not supposed to represent the milestone of iPad’s productivity growth that many think it could be. Maybe that changes over time, but for now, it’s the new Mac Pro of software: not for everyone, not even for most people.

According to Herrlinger, Apple recognizes that people without disabilities will use this feature. “For example, many people find value in closed captions,” she said. “Our goal is to engineer for specific use cases so that we continue to bring the power of our devices to more people.”

Hello mouse support on iOS 13! It’s an AssistiveTouch feature, and works with USB mice. @viticci nailed this pic.twitter.com/nj6xGAKSg0

— Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith) June 3, 2019

That being said, Herrlinger was quick to emphasize that mouse support should be seen in context. In other words, Apple hasn’t introduced it to drastically alter the primary user input landscape of iOS, although that being said, it’s not going to stop anyone outside its intended use case from plugging a mouse into their iPad Pro.

iOS 13, iPadOS, and macOS Catalina are only available to registered developers at this time, but later in the summer, Apple plans to make public betas available, giving public beta testers a chance to try the software before it sees a public launch in the fall.

Related Roundups: iOS 13, iPadOS

This article, “Apple’s Big Push to Improve Accessibility in iOS 13, iPadOS, and macOS Catalina” first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Apple Asks Developers to Put 'Sign In With Apple' Above Other Sign-in Options

At its WWDC keynote on Monday, Apple unveiled its new login feature that will allow users to sign into apps and websites using their Apple ID. As part of iOS 13, Apple will require all apps that use third-party sign-in options to include its Sign In With Apple button.


The feature has been largely welcomed as a more secure alternative to similar sign-in services offered by Facebook, Google, and Twitter, since it authenticates the user with Face ID or Touch ID, and doesn’t send personal information to app and website developers.

However, one detail in Apple’s updated Human Interface Guidelines is raising eyebrows – Apple is asking developers to position its Sign In With Apple button more prominently by putting it above all other rival sign-in options.

The guidelines are regarded as suggestions about how developers should build their apps, rather than mandatory requirements. Even so, many developers believe that following the guidelines give their apps the best chance of passing Apple’s approval process. Curiously, Apple is also asking developers to place its Sign In with Apple button above other options on websites, an area over which it wields no review power.

The suggestions come at a time when developers and rivals have claimed some of Apple’s business practices, such as taking up to a 30 percent commission on apps sold through its App Store, are unfair and anticompetitive, and amount to operating the platform as a monopoly.

In the EU, antitrust regulators are looking into claims by Spotify that it is using the App Store to deliberately disadvantage other app developers. Meanwhile in the U.S., the Department of Justice was recently given the go ahead by the Federal Trade Commission to launch a probe into Apple’s business practices, as part of a broader review of antitrust concerns in relation to large technology companies.

In an interview yesterday with CBSNews, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that scrutiny of Apple’s business practices was “fair” and a good thing for large companies, but claimed the company is not a monopoly in any of the markets it operates in.

This article, “Apple Asks Developers to Put ‘Sign In With Apple’ Above Other Sign-in Options” first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Tim Cook Says Apple 'Should be Scrutinized' But Disputes Claims Company is a Monopoly

Apple CEO Tim Cook believes that when it comes to big business, scrutiny is a good thing, but he has denied claims that Apple is a monopoly.

In an extended interview with CBS News, Cook said that because of Apple’s size he thought it was “fair” to scrutinize its business practices, but the CEO pushed back hard against claims that the company had a dominant position in any market.

Apple has recently become the target of regulator inquiries and class action lawsuits that have variously questioned its business practices. In the United States, for example, the Supreme Court recently ruled that a class action accusing Apple of operating an App Store monopoly can proceed to trial in a lower court.

Asked about Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign and her position that Apple should break up its App Store and other parts of its business, Cook said:

I strongly disagree with that. I think some people would argue, if you are selling a good, then you can’t have a product that competes with that good. And I– I think that’s part of what is being argued there. But that– that’s an argument that takes you down the path that, Walmart shouldn’t be stocking alternative or house brand. And so this is decades of– of– U.S. law here. But I think scrutiny is good, and we’ll tell our story to anybody that we need to or that– that wants to hear it. I– I feel very confident in– in our position.

Cook went on to underline the company’s user-centric position and claimed that when it comes to privacy and fake news, “we’re on the user’s side,” which is why it curates content on its stores and services.

Asked whether he thought Facebook is an amplifier for fake news, Cook said that he worried about any platform that delivered news in a feed and relied on algorithms to differentiate genuine journalism from fake news.

I don’t really believe personally that A.I. has the power today to differentiate between what is fake and what is not. And so I worry about any property that today pushes news in a feed. What we do with Apple News product is we pick top stories, we have people doing it. And so I do worry about people thinking like machines. Not machines thinking like people.

Cook’s extended interview covered several other topics, including the potential impact of Chinese tariffs on Apple, his relationship with President Trump, and current U.S. administration polices. You can watch the full interview above and read the full transcript here.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

This article, “Tim Cook Says Apple ‘Should be Scrutinized’ But Disputes Claims Company is a Monopoly” first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Roundup: First-Look Impressions of the New Mac Pro

At WWDC today, Apple unveiled its much-anticipated Mac Pro redesign, and following its keynote the company offered journalists some brief time with the machine – although admittedly nobody was allowed to use or even touch it.

With that in mind, w…

Roundup: First-Look Impressions of the New Mac Pro

At WWDC today, Apple unveiled its much-anticipated Mac Pro redesign, and following its keynote the company offered journalists some brief time with the machine – although admittedly nobody was allowed to use or even touch it.

With that in mind, w…

Apple Unveils iOS 13 Featuring Dark Mode, Swipe Keyboard, Performance Improvements, and More

Apple today previewed iOS 13, which will introduce a new Dark Mode to iOS devices and several performance improvements across the board, including faster Face ID, slimmer downloads and updates, and quicker app launches.

Dark Mode has been implemen…

Apple Unveils iOS 13 Featuring Dark Mode, Swipe Keyboard, Performance Improvements, and More

Apple today previewed iOS 13, which will introduce a new Dark Mode to iOS devices and several performance improvements across the board, including faster Face ID, slimmer downloads and updates, and quicker app launches.

Dark Mode has been implemen…

Apple Unveils 32-inch 6K 'Pro Display XDR' Monitor Starting at $4,999

As part of its new Mac Pro unveiling today at WWDC, Apple announced a new 32-inch 6K Retina display with advanced HDR viewing capabilities.


Called the Pro Display XDR, the new LCD monitor features a 6,016 x 3,384 resolution display and 20 million pixels. It uses a direct backlighting system with a large array of LEDs, able to produce 1,000 nits of full-screen brightness and 1,600 nits of peak brightness.

It’s more than 40 percent bigger than Apple’s iMac 5K display, and offers users P3 wide color, 10-bit, and several reference modes. The new screen has a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and can maintain 1,000 nits of full-screen brightness indefinitely.

The Pro display also features Thunderbolt 3, which enables two monitors to run off a single power source, and up to four displays to be connected together for more screen real estate.

Priced from $4,999, the new monitors feature an anti-reflective coating, and a matte option is also available. The Pro Stand, which is sold separately for $999, provides both tilt and height adjustment, allowing Pro Display XDR to rotate into portrait mode. A VESA Mount Adapter will also be available for $199.

The new monitor and optional extras will be available to order from this fall.

This article, “Apple Unveils 32-inch 6K ‘Pro Display XDR’ Monitor Starting at $4,999” first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Apple Unveils 32-inch 6K 'Pro Display XDR' Monitor Starting at $4,999

As part of its new Mac Pro unveiling today at WWDC, Apple announced a new 32-inch 6K Retina display with advanced HDR viewing capabilities.


Called the Pro Display XDR, the new LCD monitor features a 6,016 x 3,384 resolution display and 20 million pixels. It uses a direct backlighting system with a large array of LEDs, able to produce 1,000 nits of full-screen brightness and 1,600 nits of peak brightness.

It’s more than 40 percent bigger than Apple’s iMac 5K display, and offers users P3 wide color, 10-bit, and several reference modes. The new screen has a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and can maintain 1,000 nits of full-screen brightness indefinitely.

The Pro display also features Thunderbolt 3, which enables two monitors to run off a single power source, and up to four displays to be connected together for more screen real estate.

Priced from $4,999, the new monitors feature an anti-reflective coating, and a matte option is also available. The Pro Stand, which is sold separately for $999, provides both tilt and height adjustment, allowing Pro Display XDR to rotate into portrait mode. A VESA Mount Adapter will also be available for $199.

The new monitor and optional extras will be available to order from this fall.

This article, “Apple Unveils 32-inch 6K ‘Pro Display XDR’ Monitor Starting at $4,999” first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Apple Unveils watchOS 6 With Dedicated App Store, New Apple Watch Faces and Native Apps

Apple today announced a new version of watchOS coming this fall that will introduce several new watch faces, stock apps, and a new App Store dedicated to Apple Watch.

During its WWDC event, Apple showed off several new faces, including Modular Co…

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