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ICYMI: Bot is my co-pilot

ICYMI: Bot is my co-pilot

Today on In Case You Missed It: DARPA’s autopilot system for military planes is being tested, this time in a Cessna Caravan turboprop plane. It’s made up of a robotic arm and tablet with speech recognition, so communicating with the mechanical brain is supposed to be even easier. Meanwhile, ping-pong fans will want to know about new paddles that set the music based on the pace of the rally.

A new product designed for gamers with haptic actuators is here, while just for kicks, the Price is Right celebration is here. As always, please share any interesting tech or science videos you find by using the #ICYMI hashtag on Twitter for @mskerryd.


Evidence in Trademark Filing Points to MacBook OLED Panel Officially Called ‘Magic Toolbar’

A week before Apple’s just-announced October 27 Mac-centric event, a newly discovered trademark filing has been unearthed online, suggesting a potential name for the OLED panel on the new MacBook Pro. According to information rounded up by Brian Conroy at The Trademark Ninja (via The Next Web), a trademark filed by a company called “Presto Apps America LLC” for a device dubbed the “Magic Toolbar” could be Apple’s name for the touch bar panel on its new MacBook Pro line.

Conroy lays out a line of evidence pointing to Apple’s involvement with this particular name, beginning with Presto Apps’ incorporation on January 22, 2016, and followed by its filing for the trademark just a few weeks later on February 5, 2016. The cost of the trademark application was furthermore estimated to be around €16,000.

The trademark’s cost, along with Apple’s stable of “Magic” products — Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse, Magic Trackpad — fuel Conroy’s main line of evidence. Given that Apple has a well-established reason to potentially do battle with any company in court who would file a trademark with “Magic” heavily featured in the title, Conroy says anyone would “have to be 100% certified insane” to spend so much money on something that a company like Apple could shut down with relative ease. He calls this “the main reason” he believes Presto Apps is Apple.

They would almost certainly be able to stop any other company applying for the trademark ‘Magic Toolbar’, on the basis it’s similar to their existing trademarks and likely to cause confusion.

So, another company would have to be 100% certified insane to spend €16,000 in outlay for a trademark application that someone with the clout of Apple was almost certain to be able to object to and defeat. And that’s the main reason that I’m putting my neck on the line and saying that ‘Presto Apps America LLC’ is actually Apple.

To top it all off, when investigating Presto Apps’ trademark applications in Canada, Indonesia, and Malaysia, it was discovered that the “Magic Toolbar” application was filed by the same lawyers who applied for the “AirPods” trademark. As Conroy concluded, “either Presto Apps America is Apple and the Magic Toolbar is going to be part of the MacBook announced on 27 October or else it’s the strangest set of coincidences and unlikely events I’ve ever seen.”

Rumors that began earlier in the year suggested that the OLED panel on the MacBook Pro will dynamically change for specific apps that are open on the computer, as well as integrate Touch ID into Apple’s MacBook line. Internally, Apple reportedly named the OLED panel the “Dynamic Function Row.” Refreshed versions of the MacBook Air, iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac mini are also believed to be part of the October 27 event.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
Buyer’s Guide: Retina MacBook Pro (Don’t Buy)
Discuss this article in our forums

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One-Handed Keyboard Discovered Within iOS Simulator Code

Developer Steve Troughton-Smith has uncovered a one-handed keyboard code by hacking the iOS Simulator, also discovering that the code for the feature has “been there since at least iOS 8.” The one-handed keyboard mode works by letting users left-swipe or right-swipe from the edges of the iOS keyboard to pull the keys towards their dominant hand, making it easier to type with just one hand.

Taking up the extra space on the side of the keyboard are designated cut, copy, and paste controls, with the rest of the keyboard’s buttons gaining a smaller width to accommodate the one-handed mode. Discovered to be dormant since iOS 8, without an official beta or public launch, the feature’s original code ties into the launch of Apple’s size-bumped 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus.

Today’s fun hack (been there since at least iOS 8); the iOS keyboard has an unused left/right one-handed mode. Activated by edge-swipe

— Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) October 19, 2016

It appears that the company was working on ways to help users type on the new, bigger iPhones, but it remains unclear why the one-handed keyboard never made it to an official release on iOS. In lieu of the mode, Apple introduced “Reachability” for iPhone 6 Plus users, which lets them double-tap on the Home button (without impressing it) to pull down the entire screen and reach pieces of the UI otherwise out of the reach of their thumb.

Troughton-Smith noted in a few tweets that the keyboard could potentially be hacked on an actual iPhone like he did with the iOS Simulator, but the device would need to be jailbroken to do so. The developer gave some context regarding the code of such a jailbreak tweak, as well as a video of the one-handed keyboard in action.

Reachability is an answer to vertical problems when using the Plus-sized iPhones with one hand, but it leaves horizontal, one-handed typing issues unsolved in iOS keyboards. Apple could debut the one-handed keyboard in a future version of iOS, potentially next year’s iOS 11, but since the code for the feature has remained dormant for so long already, it’s impossible to tell.

Related Roundup: iOS 10
Discuss this article in our forums

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Nougat soak test underway for the Moto G4 Plus in Brazil

Motorola published the list of devices that will be updated to Nougat earlier this month, stating that the Moto G4 and the Moto Z would receive the update first. The company is now kicking off the Nougat soak test for the Moto G4 Plus in Brazil, with the update coming in at 953MB.


The screenshots show the phone making the switch to Android 7.0 along with the October security patch. Nougat introduces several interesting features, including a multi-window mode, improvements to Doze, quick replies to notifications, improved security, built-in Data Saver mode, and even more emoji.

With the soak test underway, it shouldn’t be too long before the update starts becoming widely available. As always, we’ll let you know once the OTA update commences its rollout.


Leaked slide deck reveals Xiaomi Mi Note 2 specs

We’re less than a week out from Xiaomi’s Mi Note 2 event, and ahead of the official unveil, the purported slide deck for the phone has leaked on Weibo, giving us a look at the specs on offer.


As spotted by PhoneArena, the deck reveals that the phone will feature a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED QHD display, Snapdragon 821 SoC, Adreno 530 GPU, up to 6GB of RAM and 128GB UFS 2.0 storage, 4G+, dual camera setup at the back with a 23MP Sony IMX318 sensor comlemented by a 12MP Sony IMX378 sensor. At the front, the phone will offer an 8MP shooter.

The Mi Note 2 — like the Mi 5s — features Qualcomm’s ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, which is embedded underneath the display. Other specs include a 4100mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0, NFC, and USB-C. Based on the presentation deck, it looks like the Mi Note 2 with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage will retail for ¥2,799 ($415), while the high-end version with 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage will be available for ¥2,999 ($445). Not bad at all considering the sheer hardware on offer.

We’ll have more details on October 25. It’s unlikely that the Mi Note 2 will be catered to a Western audience, but the phone is turning out to be yet another stellar offering from Xiaomi for Asian markets.


How to enable Google Hangouts on the Pixel


Get your Hangouts back!

The Pixel ships with Android 7.1, Google’s latest version of Nougat that includes a number of improvements. But some Pixel owners may find a surprising omission when they load up the Pixel for the first time: a lack of Google Hangouts.

Some versions of the Pixel are shipping with Hangouts installed on the device but disabled, as Google tries to push people towards its new chat app, Allo. But if you, like me, are one of the remaining Hangouts diehards, here’s how to re-enable it and get back to your old habits.

How to enable Hangouts on the Pixel

On the home screen, swipe down from the notification shade.
Tap on the Settings cog.

Scroll down and tap on Apps.


Scroll down and tap on Hangouts.

Tap Enable.


After that, you can head to the Play Store and update the app to the latest version.

That’s it! Now you can get back to using Hangouts and ignoring Allo, like the good ol’ days.

Google Pixel + Pixel XL

  • Google Pixel and Pixel XL review
  • Google Pixel XL review: A U.S. perspective
  • Google Pixel FAQ: Should you upgrade?
  • Pixel + Pixel XL specs
  • Understanding Android 7.1 Nougat
  • Join the discussion in the forums!

Google Store


Amazon has now made it easier to buy your favourite Kickstarter products

Amazon has introduced a new Kickstarter Collection section as part of its Launchpad platform for startups to sell their products and get them noticed. The programme works with capital firms, startup accelerators and crowd-funding platforms such as Kickstarter to help launch products in the US, UK, China, Germany and France.

The new addition of Kickstarter means you can now buy successfully funded products such as Exploding Kittens and the Musaic multi-room music system. It’s not just gadgets and electronics in the Collection, as home & kitchen and toys & games are included too

Francois Saugier, head of EU seller services, Amazon said: “We launched Amazon Launchpad to provide startups with the support they need to help bring their ideas to life, and by working with Kickstarter we will be increasing our selection for customers across Europe.”

Yancey Strickler, CEO of Kickstarter added: “We’re thrilled to collaborate with Amazon Launchpad on creating a new path for startups to launch their products and potentially be discovered by millions of new customers.”

You can find out more about Amazon Launchpad and the networks it supports, as well as buy startup products at the official Launchpad website.


The BlackBerry DTEK60 could be available to buy in 5 days

The DTEK60 hasn’t been officially announced by BlackBerry, but the Canadian phone company may as well not bother as we already know pretty much all there is to know about the new flagship device.

  • BlackBerry DTEK60: What’s the story so far?

The specs have been leaked by BlackBerry itself and now German retailer Media Markt has listed it as being available on October 25. However it isn’t clear if this is the date it will be available to buy, or just available to pre-order.

The German listing also has a price of €599, which is a lot higher than $499.99 pre-order price from American retailer B&H Photo. The leaked advert does confirm the same specs, including 5.5-inch Quad HD AMOLED display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 21-megapixel rear-facing camera and 32GB of internal storage.

Two October dates were previously rumoured for release as well: October 12 and October 17, but we’ve still not heard anything official from BlackBerry, so perhaps October 25 will be the official launch.


These stunning drone photos kick off 400ft Britain competition, can you do better?

VisitEngland and the Civil Aviation Authority have teamed for a photography competition to find the best aerial shots of the British countryside.

Drone pilots are encouraged to take to the UK skies and grab amazing images of what makes Britain great, and in the process highlight that it is possible to use quadcopters and other flying tech responsibly.

The CAA has its own Dronecode to help pilots observe UK rules and guidelines, and you can read about it here. The photography competition also adheres to the strict code, with a couple of key highlights being:

  • Drones must not be flown near airports.
  • They must stay below 400ft and be at least 150ft from buildings.

To encourage you to take part, Pocket-lint has been given a few examples of shots taken by drones, which you can flick through in our gallery above. Hopefully you will be able to do as well or even better, and it’s easy to take part.

  • Best drones to buy in 2016, whatever your budget
  • Best drone photos ever: Stunning images taken from up high

Just submit a drone-taken photo or video of Britain and upload it to your Twitter or Instagram account using the hashtag #400ftBritain. Or you can submit your entry to the official 400ft Britain website directly.

The competition runs until 31 January 2017 and winners get the chance to go on a Phantom Flight School drone holiday. There will also be an exhibition held of the best next year.


Best Headphones 2016: EE Pocket-lint Gadget Awards nominees

The EE Pocket-lint Gadget Awards are nearly upon us for the 13th year and as usual, we have been delivering a series of features of the nominees within each of the 14 categories. Each feature offers a little bit about why we love each of the shortlisted products and why they have been chosen as finalists in their category.

This is now the seventh of those features and it is all about the nominations for the Best Headphones 2016. You can find the other features that look at Best Game, Best Camera, Best Phone, Best Tablet / 2-in-1, Best Laptop and Best Home Entertainment Device or Service in the Awards hub. If you keep checking there, you’ll also see features appearing for Best TV, Best Smarthome Device and the remaining categories.

As with all the categories, the competition is tough for best headphones. Some excellent over-ear numbers have appeared over the last 12 months from the Sony MDR-1000X to the P7 Wireless from Bowers and Wilkins, but which of the nominees should take the crown?

Click here to see the Awards nominees for 2016’s Best Headphones in a little more detail to help you make your mind up about which one should get your vote.

Voting in the 13th annual EE Pocket-lint Awards is now open so you can let us know which one of these great devices you think should win the Best Headphones award for this year and give us your verdict on all the other tech across the 13 select categories.

Winners will be announced at the exclusive event in London on 23 November in association with EE. For now, keep an eye on the EE Pocket-lint Gadget Awards 2016 hub for all the latest on how the voting works, who the elite judges are and the EE Pocket-lint Gadget Awards shortlist.

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