Apple has sent out media invites for its “Hello again” event on Thursday 26 October which is expected to revolve around the MacBook. 9to5Mac.com has picked up some Russian trademark filings that point to Apple announcing three new models with numbers: A1706, A1707 and A1708.
- Apple sends out invites to 27 October event likely for new MacBook Pro
9to5Mac also cites usually reliable leaksters KGI as saying Apple would unveil three new MacBooks on stage in Cupertino.
The filings don’t give away details of specifications or features of the laptops, but merely confirms their existence. It’s likely that all three models will be made available for pre-order the same day they’re announced. Both the Russian filings and KGI’s report say there won’t be any new iMacs or a 5K external display unveiled at Apple’s event, but they may be announced sometime in 2017.
The MacBook Pro will finally get an update and usher in a number of major updates, including improved internal components, a Touch ID fingerprint scanner and an OLED shortcut bar in place of the quick action function keys on MacBooks at the moment.
They should arrive in 13-inch and 15-inch variants and have USB Type-C ports and Thunderbolt 3 but there’s a possibility Apple will kill the headphone jack, like it did with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.
- Apple to continue headphone jack killing spree with MacBook Pro?
We’ll know everything for sure this coming Thursday as we’ll be reporting live from the event in Cupertino.
Jumping out of a plane used to be one of the most extreme things you could do. Then getting it all on film was the next level. Now it’s all about not only filming the jump but editing it before you’ve even landed. We did exactly that using the TomTom Bandit action camera.
We took to the skies for Pocket-lint Adventures with the Infinite Skydiving team in Banbury. With ominous clouds starting to roll in we strapped on our TomTom Bandit, affixed our fetching helmet-onesie combo and got ready for the rush.
The camera was mounted minutes before we headed off and synched with our heart rate monitor. The connected phone was worn on the forearm like some sort of cyborg soldier. Since we simply needed to hit record and leave the kit working we were left with little else to worry about – aside from the whole potentially dying thing.
Strapped in we reached 13,000 feet and were told to shuffle to an open door, as you do. Feet dangling and deafening wind blaring we leant forward and let go. Noise, wind, adrenaline – the next 45 seconds were a free fall blur. Once the chute released, and we finished cheering, the phone was accessible. You just need a tap or two and a shake of your phone and the TomTom Bandit did the rest of the work end edited the video ready to share instantly.
While that part is easy, getting our fingers to stop shaking to press the screen when we landed was probably the biggest challenge.
The TomTom Bandit features a highlight option that marks parts of the video you want to highlight, and the easy to use editing software then allows you to put together a video of either your favourite bits, or highlights the camera believes you should feature based on speed, movement, or other factors. So in this case a tap on entering the plane, when we were just about to jump, another after the chute opened, and a further one on landing would all be options for a quick edit. Our “in-jump” video was done purely leaving it to the Bandit software.
Back on the ground and we had more time to edit a video using the three cameras we took to ensure we got every angle, and using the Bandit software is really easy.
Check out more of the Pocket-lint Adventures below:
The XPRIZE nonprofit just announced its latest set of competitions aimed at “sparking breakthrough solutions to two urgent grand challenges.” The first is the “water abundance XPRIZE,” which focuses on harvesting clean water from the air using renewable resources. Specifically, the challenge asks participants to create a device that extracts a minimum of 2,000 liters of fresh water per day from the atmosphere, using 100 percent renewable energy. To make things even trickier, the cost can only be two cents per liter of water.
The winning team will receive a $1.75 million prize, and registration is open through March 31st, 2017. The top five teams will be selected at the end of January 2018, with the winner being crowned that August.
The second competition is named the “Anu & Naveen Jain Women’s Safety XPRIZE.” Its missions is to use technology to build a discreet system that’ll let women alert authorities as well as the community if they’re unsafe. The solution that this competition is looking for would “autonomously and inconspicuously” send out an emergency alert and also send info to “community responders.” It would do all this in 90 seconds or less and cost less than $40 annually and specifically be able to work in low-connectivity situations.
The total prize of $1 million will be awarded on June 1st, 2018. Registration is open through the end of February 2017, and five finalists will be announced a couple months before the contest’s conclusion. While this safety device sounds like it would be a small hardware device, the contest’s guidelines don’t mention what form the solution has to take — so it seems like an app would be theoretically possible, should it pass all of the contest’s other guidelines.
Just because you can watch live sports on your phone doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy it — the footage is usually optimized for TV, which sometimes means staring at players the size of ants. You won’t have to squint if you’re an NBA League Pass customer during the 2016-2017 season, though. The basketball streaming service is trotting out a Mobile View option that gives you a close-up shot in its Android and iOS apps. You can switch back to a traditional view when you want an overview, but this promises to help in those moments when you want to identify the ball carrier or get a good look at that impending dunk.
And crucially, this isn’t just a matter of cropping the regular view and calling it a day. The NBA and Turner Sports installed new cameras in every team’s arena, and each game has a producer dedicated to Mobile View. You should experience the same quality that you’d get on TV, just with a new perspective. As always, though, you’ll have to pay to see this for yourself. A full season of out-of-market games will cost you $200 US, while a team-specific pass will set you back $120; individual games cost $7 each.
Source: NBA League Pass, NBA (YouTube)
By Tyler Wells Lynch
This post was done in partnership with The Sweethome, a buyer’s guide to the best homewares. When readers choose to buy The Sweethome’s independently chosen editorial picks, they may earn affiliate commissions that support their work. Read the full article here.
We spent 20 hours researching the most popular mini fridges, and we tested five of them by stuffing them with dozens of soda cans, measuring temperatures, and chilling drinks, lettuce, and frozen meals for a week. Most of them worked just fine—but if we had to recommend one, we’d say the Danby Designer DCR044A2 is the best of the bunch.
Who this is for
Mini fridges are great companions for small apartments, dorm rooms, hangouts, and offices. They’re ideal for storing drinks, snacks, daily lunches, and leftovers, but they can also store perishable items for a few days at a time.
However, mini fridges fall short of full-size, all-purpose refrigerators in several key ways. Most minis have no crisper drawer, so produce will lose its fresh taste and texture after a few days. Freezer burn is common, too, and the freezer compartments don’t reach anywhere near the 0 degree Fahrenheit threshold for safe, long-term meat storage.
How we picked and tested
We selected our finalists based on specs, price, and user ratings. Note to college students: Don’t stack them like this for the party. Photo: Liam McCabe
We put in roughly 20 hours of research and hands-on testing to make this guide’s recommendations. After setting up the picks and gathering initial impressions, we left a couple of our favorite models running, each with a head of lettuce and a frozen meal inside, for a week. After that test wrapped up, we kept using them to store drinks and snacks, gathering in total a couple of weeks’ worth of performance data prior to publication.
Although we’ve tested mini fridges before, we keep coming away with the same conclusion: All mini fridges work fine. That said, we set out to find the standout models, the ones with the best shelves and the best prices.
To start, we made a spreadsheet of the best-selling mini fridges at major retailers. We compared capacity, size, price, and other specs, and we tracked user ratings. We also made sure to consider only fridges that use compressors for cooling, as opposed to thermoelectric elements, which don’t get cold enough to keep food safe. People need to fit mini fridges in all kinds of spaces, so we broke the category down into two divisions based on size: cube mini fridges (which are smaller) and tall mini fridges (which have more shelving options).
After settling on five finalists—three tall models and two cube models—we bought them and started testing. First, we read their temperatures with a low-temperature digital thermometer for the fridge and freezer compartments. We evaluated each fridge’s storage capacity and compressor noise in addition to how well each fridge preserved food.
With a lot of details similar to its competitors, the Danby stood out for its versatile storage. Photo: Liam McCabe
We like the Danby Designer DCR044A2 more than other mini fridges, mostly because it has better shelves and a smarter layout, including individual can holsters and a full-width freezer. That means you can store more food and drink more comfortably. Temperature performance is safe and as satisfactory as you’ll find in a mini fridge at this price. It takes up a similar amount of floor space as other models, and it’s relatively short for its size.
Designed with the best shelves and storage of any mini fridge we tested, this Danby model is advertised to have a capacity of 4.4 cubic feet, in the same range as competing models, but it uses its space better than the rest. We fit 89 12-ounce cans into the Danby DCR044A2 comfortably. The Danby DCR044A2 has other options that most mini fridges don’t, like an egg tray and a slide-out tray under the freezer. You can also raise or lower the individual shelves throughout the interior to adjust for items of different heights.
Individual can holsters, an egg tray, a full-width freezer, and adjustable shelves are the main features that set the Danby DCR044A2 apart from other mini fridges. Photo: Liam McCabe
And if you’re looking to store frozen goods, the freezer in the Danby is just as wide as the fridge itself, which is a big improvement on the smaller, partial-width freezers in many other models. Across our testing, it sat squarely within the FDA-recommended temperature range for refrigerators (35 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit). In the freezer, the usual resting temp was about 9.9 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s a bit of a problem for long-term storage, but it’s absolutely typical for the mini fridges we’ve tested, and fine for storing frozen meals for a few days at a time.
The Danby DCR044A2 has a full-width freezer, as well as a deli tray. You don’t see those on most mini fridges. Photo: Liam McCabe
Most of the Danby DCR044A2’s flaws can be chalked up to problems with mini fridges in general. Finding the right temperature setting can be tricky because the temperature dial has no markings. Freezer burn is inevitable if you leave anything in there for more than a few days. In any case, if you plan to store food that could make you sick if it spoils, you may want to buy a fridge thermometer (we got ours for $7) or to at least turn the dial down from the get-go.
A cube mini fridge
For a very small mini fridge, the cube-shaped Midea WHS-65L is cheap and surprisingly spacious, and it has a freezer. Photo: Liam McCabe
If we had a very small space to fit a mini fridge, we would buy the cube-shaped Midea WHS-65L. It’s cheap and surprisingly spacious despite its small footprint, it offers solid temperature performance, and it boasts a freezer compartment to boot.
It won’t take up much floor space, but the Midea WHS-65L cube fridge can hold plenty of drinks. Photo: Liam McCabe
Because of a cube fridge’s limited space (1.6 cubic feet) compared with tall mini fridges, such a model is probably not the best option if you plan to store more than one or two days’ worth of food for more than two people, but it really depends on your circumstances. For what it’s worth, in our tests we fit 46 12-ounce cans inside the Midea WHS-65L.
We recorded a fridge temperature of 37 degrees Fahrenheit after a half hour. That fell to 35 degrees after we turned the dial down, but either way, those are perfectly adequate temperatures for food storage. We recorded a wider temperature fluctuation in the freezer: 11 to 21 degrees, which fell to 10 to 20 degrees after we turned down the dial. That performance is about as good as you’ll get from a $100 fridge with a half-width freezer compartment. Just don’t depend on the freezer for long-term storage of frozen meals, and you’ll be fine.
This guide may have been updated by The Sweethome. To see the current recommendation, please go here.
Note from The Sweethome: When readers choose to buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn affiliate commissions that support our work.
This past Friday, some of the biggest sites and services on the internet were effectively shut down by a major distributed denial of service attack (DDoS). As the day wore on, it was revealed that hacked Internet of Things devices like webcams and other connected home devices were the tools used to carry out the attack, and now at least some of the hacked devices are being recalled. The BBC reports that Chinese manufacturer Hangzhou Xiongmai has issued a recall for its faulty webcams that were involved in the attack.
The manufacturer says that hackers were able to use its devices because many owners hadn’t bothered to change their default passwords. The company says that, in addition to the recall, it’ll send a software patch to strength its products against future attacks and look into improving the way it uses passwords on its device. Perhaps something that requires that owners change the passwords as soon as they set up the devices might help.
Hangzhou Xiongmai is just one manufacturer out a likely large group whose devices contributed to this attack, so it wouldn’t surprise us to hear more companies step forward to make things up to both their customers as well as everyone who was affected by this outage. But, as the BBC points out, using internet-connected devices as attack tools is likely something hackers will continue to try for the foreseeable future.
The holiday shopping season is a mere four weeks away, which means that tech companies need to get their products out, stat. We’ve already seen launches from Google and Apple, but now it’s time for Microsoft to unleash the gadgets you’ll be lusting after this December. The rumor mill has already given us clues as to what we might see at the company’s big reveal later this week (and no, a Surface Pro 5 probably isn’t on the menu). We’ve rounded up the likeliest bets here. Have a look, pre-order some popcorn and then prepare to follow along with our liveblog as it unfolds on Wednesday.
Following a sluggish start, Microsoft’s Surface line of Windows devices has become something of a blockbuster. Sales of the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book are now close to making the division a billion-dollar business for the historically software-led company. That’s why it’s no surprise to see hints that Microsoft will add yet another device to its burgeoning hardware lineup.
According to ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, the company will use the event to showcase a product called “Cardinal” that will operate as an all-in-one PC. It’s not clear how this unit will work in the real world, although Windows Central theorizes it’ll be a large, tablet-like device that can be used as a display or as a desk. Patent drawings (pictured above) suggest an all-in-one PC that’s part iMac, part Wacom Cintiq pen display, and part home theater. That patent, however, relates to a modular device that could be augmented with add-on units, perhaps like Acer’s Revo Build PCs.
Foley understands that Cardinal will be sold in a variety of different screen sizes, ranging from 21 inches all the way up to 27. Alternatively, the device could be marketed as a scaled-down version of the company”s Surface Hub, with a giant touch display for museums and businesses that want more than just a whiteboard. Given how the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Hub allow for precise input, that Cintiq comparison might be quite relevant.
Fans of existing Surface devices may be disappointed on Wednesday, as rumors suggest there will be no Surface Pro 5 or second-generation Surface Book at this week’s event. Instead, those two devices will get their own flashy launch party in early 2017, in time for a spring or summer ship date. That said, the company may incorporate a spec bump into the existing models to accommodate Intel’s latest Kaby Lake seventh-generation Core processors.
It would be a massive surprise if Microsoft also used this event to trot out the long-rumored Surface Phone. The company seems to have all but given up on mobile at this point. Indeed, that rumored Lumia follow-up has reportedly been pushed back to 2018, if it’s ever released at all. Given how the smartphone world is currently atrophying, it seems like the company should stop wasting time and money on a device that stands little chance of stealing market share from Android and iOS.
Windows 10 is expected to be the focal point of Wednesday’s event — it is, after all, the glue holding together the company’s hardware lineup. That said, it looks as if Microsoft won’t have anything too earth-shattering to show off. Windows Central and ZDNet believe that the bulk of the conversation will center on the so-called Redstone 2 update to Windows 10, which is due early next year. The update mostly provides minor improvements to the OS, including enhancements to the camera app and better drawing support for Windows Ink. But those may become headline features if the Surface all-in-one is geared toward creative professionals, like graphic designers.
The company may also want to use the event to remind customers that it’s cleared the way for legacy Windows apps to come to Windows 10. As VentureBeat reported back in September, Win32 apps and games are slowly filtering into the store now that the company’s Desktop App Converter is available. That tool can pull older Win32 programs and repackage them for the firm’s newfangled Windows Universal Platform.
One thing we’re certain we won’t hear is any serious discussion of Microsoft Office, mostly because Microsoft is planning to put on a separate keynote dedicated solely to its productivity suite. The week after this consumer-focused shindig, the company will host a media event in Manhattan exploring how Office can “empower every team to achieve more.”
Windows Central believes that the company is working on a competitor of some form to go up against Amazon’s Echo and Google Home. The device is reportedly called Home Hub and would work with smart appliances, control your calendar and answer search queries. The evidence here is admittedly thin, but unveiling a product to take on Amazon and Google would indeed make sense for Microsoft.
After all, voice-based interfaces are all the rage right now, and the Echo has been out for months now. Then there’s the fact that the company has recently spent a lot of time and money developing a speech recognition engine that claims to listen as well as a human being.
Unless the company completely reverses course, we can rule out any mention of wearables at the show. Microsoft killed off its fitness-tracking Band at the start of October and though the Band 3 showed up in leaks, it’s apparently on ice. There’s been no substantive talk of a follow-up device either, and so it looks as if Microsoft is making a hasty retreat from people’s wrists — at least at the moment.
We’re also not expecting to hear too much about the company’s plans for the Xbox and HoloLens. While there should be plenty of talk about the potential of these two platforms, there’s no suggestion that new hardware is coming. Think: third-party tie-ins, commercial partnerships and perhaps yet another trailer for Infinite Warfare.
Last year, Microsoft’s late-fall event was a showcase for all the things that Microsoft itself was working on, from tablets to HoloLens, to wearables and phones. Though it now produces hardware itself, the company still has hundreds of device partners it relies upon to spread the gospel of Windows. Mary Jo Foley believes that, as a subtle mea culpa, Microsoft will cede some of the event time to its frenemies in the hardware world.
Hong Kong’s Sincere Podium is home to all manner of mobile devices — be it second-hand phones, imported handsets (mainly from Japan and Korea), spare parts and even prototypes once in a while. This time, the mall appears to be the last place in the city — if not the world — to still be openly selling the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 despite the worldwide recall. Over the weekend, I came across a shop with a glass cabinet full of boxes for the 64GB Note 7, with a bright sticker on one of them saying “Samsung Note 7 dealer goods: Special offer” in Chinese. I didn’t think much of it and simply tweeted a couple of photos, only to be surprised by the posts’ traction over the last two days.
Before I go further, I should probably explain why the amusing sight was only tweet-worthy to me at the time. You see, Sincere Podium is also occupied by several scapler shops — stores that let people trade in their practically new, fully boxed devices (usually iPhones and flagship Samsung phones) for cash, and then the devices are smuggled into Mainland China, earning a profit by dodging the heavy import tax. It’s a shady but lucrative business, which is why smugglers try their best to walk naturally into Shenzhen with iPhones strapped around their waist and limbs; but I’ve heard crazier stories in the past too.
The shop in question was also a scalper. I can’t remember exactly how long it’s been around, but I know that it has always been the only shop in the mall that openly offered to buy up flagship Samsung phones (before the Note 7, the cabinet had boxes of S7 and Note 5 instead). In this case, the shop was clearly having a hard time getting rid of its stock of Note 7, but it was otherwise business as usual, as people kept coming over with their boxed-up iPhones asking for trade-in prices. These prices can fluctuate by the hour, by the way — it all comes down to demand in Shenzen.
Given everyone’s curiosity and amusement on Twitter, I had to do what was right. Today, I went back to said shop and asked how much the abruptly discontinued phones were going for. The answer? A whopping HK$5,980 or about $770 a piece, which isn’t that much of a “special offer” considering that the original off-contract price was HK$6,198 or about $799. It appears that the shop is keen to recover most of its money from these leftover devices.
I then walked around the mall and found two more shops that were also still selling the Note 7, albeit more discreetly — simply by way of a dummy Note 7 without the price listed on it. One shop was offering “brand new” Note 7 units for HK$6,298 — yes, HK$100 or about $13 more than the original price — while the other was asking for a more reasonable HK$5,200 (about $670) for the Korean Note 7, which only has 32GB of internal storage.
As I stood in front of the first shop, one of the guys behind the counter implied that since their Note 7 units come with their original receipts, you could take them to their original resellers for an exchange or a refund. But if that’s the case, why didn’t the shop just bring these devices back to their original shops for a refund? I suspect there are two reasons: One is that if the devices were bought with credit cards, then chances are the shops would simply refund with credit instead of cash.
Secondly, it’s likely that some of these phones were subsidized by local carriers, so even if these carriers were willing to give a cash refund, it would probably be of much less value than what the shop paid its trade-in customers. In other words, the shop is probably better off trying to sell these phones to clueless people (which is totally not OK) or to those who are seeking one as a collector’s item (I advise against this).
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything that Samsung can do about this gray market. In a statement to Engadget, the company’s Hong Kong division said it had already asked “authorised retailers” (note the use of “authorised”) and distributors to stop selling the Note 7 as of October 11th. It also stressed that “consumers should buy Samsung products only from Hong Kong and Macau authorized retailers / distributors / resellers,” and that “the Galaxy Note 7 should not be used nor purchased by consumers for their safety.”
As in most regions, customers who bought a Note 7 from an authorized retailer in Hong Kong are eligible for a refund or an exchange from its shop of origin, provided they have a receipt with a matching IMEI number printed on it.
The Portrait mode for Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus has been in the works for months, and now it’s ready for the masses… sort of. 7 Plus users running beta software have been able to shoot photos full of artificial bokeh for over a month now, but Apple just pushed out its iOS 10.1 update and Portrait mode came along for the ride. Now, here’s the thing: even though you don’t need to be enrolled in the iOS beta program to use the feature anymore, the feature itself still isn’t completely done. Once the update is installed, the camera app asks if you’d like to “try the beta” when you swipe into the new Portrait position.
Our professional recommendation? Dive right in. Portrait mode might not be completely complete, but it’s still capable of producing seriously nice headshots. In case you missed it the first time around, the feature uses the iPhone 7 Plus’s two cameras in tandem — the primary 12-megapixel sensor captures the image as normal, but the second, wide-angle sensor is used to determine how far away the subject is. All of that data gets mashed up into a nine -layer depth map, providing the context needed to artfully blur out backgrounds while keeping faces and subjects closer to the phone remain crisp and intact. Apple’s goal was to build a dead-simple photography experience that yields pictures that look like they were shot on expensive SLR cameras, and for the most part, Apple’s work is very impressive.
This photo represents well the sort of quality you can expect out of Portrait mode: the focus stays locked on the face and hands, and the windows in the background are blurred pretty dramatically. Thanks to that nine-layer depth map, you can see areas where blurring is very subtle, like the top of the subject’s head and the bottom of her scarf.
You don’t need to take photos of people to get some mileage out of Portrait mode, either. Have cats prancing around? Or a sweet new mug you need to share? In my experience, as long as you’re within proper range (the app tells you when you are) and there’s enough contrast between the foreground and background, you’ll get that pleasant background blurring.
It’s when you’re in well-lit environments with lots of similar colors that Portrait mode seems to have trouble — that’s often when you’ll see edges blurred when they shouldn’t be. Just check out this photo of a cactus precariously perched on a railing. The camera didn’t have trouble differentiating between the cool blue of the pot and the trees in the background, but it obviously had trouble telling where the cactus ended and the trees began.
These disappointments are rare, though, and will probably get ironed out as people continue to put Portrait mode through its paces. Most of the big problems have been solved — now Apple just has to focus on the fine-tuning (which is obviously easier said than done). At this point, Portrait mode is still far from perfect, but there’s a lot to like about just how simple it is to use. It’s fast, it’s impressive and it’s only going to get better with time. Interested in taking it for a spin? Jump into your iPhone 7 Plus’s settings and mash that software update button — it’ll show up sooner or later.
Google’s plans for a new headset are advancing. In July, we wrote that Google had been actively assigning individuals to work on a high-end standalone headset that doesn’t require a computer or smartphone. In the three months since, people familiar with the matter have told Engadget that Google’s device will integrate eye tracking and use sensors and algorithms to map out the real-world space in front of a user.
With these two technologies, Google will be able to augment the reality in front of the headset, displaying digital objects alongside environments and objects from the real world. Sources also confirmed that Movidius, an AI company currently being acquired by Intel, is providing chips that will aid in tracking motion and positional awareness. Sources have previously explained that the headset, which is separate from the company’s Daydream VR platform, will not require a computer or phone to power it.
Earlier today, The Drum reported on a potential “wireless virtual reality” device that passed through the FCC’s approval process. Although the heavily redacted filings reveal very little, beyond some wireless capabilities, it does have Mike Jazayeri, director of product management for Google’s VR group, listed as a contact. We were unable to confirm whether the FCC-approved device, apparently for internal and partner testing, is related to the standalone headset plans.
While we’re unsure what form the final headset will take, there are two companies that are aspiring to achieve similar goals: Microsoft (with its HoloLens headset) and Magic Leap. The latter actually counts Google among its extensive investors list, with the search giant leading one funding round and participating in another.
Magic Leap refers to its technology as “mixed reality.” It differs from HoloLens by generating a digital light-field signal that can apparently create a better illusion of depth than HoloLens. Although all three products have similar goals, one source described the new standalone headset as something that blurs the line between virtual and augmented reality — bringing the world into VR, rather than VR into the world.
At the time of writing, Google has not responded to a request for comment. Movidius declined to comment.