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iPhone 8 Concepts and Mockups – Part 2

With the iPhone 8 set to receive a major redesign that is rumored to add an edge-to-edge display, eliminate the home button, and introduce some sort of touch bar-style feature, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing dozens of concept images and mockups imagining what such a device might look like.

Back in February, we rounded up some of the best iPhone concepts, but designers and artists have been creating new mockups on a regular basis, so this is part two in the concept series. These concepts don’t reflect the actual design of the iPhone 8, but it’s fun to imagine what we might see this fall.

Designer Gabor Balogh has dreamed up a detailed “iPhone X” with an edge-to-edge display and a virtual home button that powers an augmented reality Siri feature.

A space around the virtual home button displays dynamic smart functions that change with each app. The way the edge-to-edge display is imagined is perhaps the best part of the concept, as we don’t know if AR or advanced Siri features are coming in the iPhone 8.

UX designer Vianney le Masne imagined an iPhone 8 “without borders” that incorporates iOS 11 and a highly desired feature, dark mode. It has an edge-to-edge display but leaves a top bar in place for the camera. The darker-themed UI is definitely the most interesting part of this idea.

An iPhone 8 concept video by Arthur Reis shared by ConceptsiPhone features a device with a nearly edge-to-edge display that continues to have thin bezels, a small indent for a home button, dual cameras, and a glass body. It imagines fantastical non-rumored features like a “hover-sensitive screen,” dual front-facing cameras, and an “AirCharger” for long-range wireless charging.

There’s an ad included from a sponsor in the video at 1:42, so skip ahead to 2:20 to avoid it and see the full conceptual design.

A second ConceptsiPhone video created by Sahanan Yogarasa imagines an iPhone 8 that has an edge-to-edge display at the sides but continues to have top and bottom bezels.

A circular camera area is on the back, and it imagines several new colors, including a dark blue, a red, and a copper shade. This probably isn’t what the iPhone 8 will look like, especially the camera area, but the color choices are interesting.

Designer AlHasan Husni has also imagined an iPhone 8 that incorporates a dark mode and a screen that wraps around the edges of the device slightly, incorporating rumors of a curved display. More recent rumors have suggested the iPhone 8 will have a standard 2.5D display and no curved edges.

Over the course of the next couple months, we’ll likely start to see our first part leaks for the iPhone 8, which will give us a better idea of what to expect from Apple’s 10th anniversary device.

Part leaks will help narrow down some of the questions we have about the device, such as its specific size (rumored to be 5.8 inches), the curve of the display (supposed to be similar to the iPhone 7), and the design of the two more affordable devices that are rumored to be accompanying the higher-end OLED iPhone 8.

For full details on what to expect from the 2017 iPhone based on the rumors that have been circulating about the device, make sure to check out our extensive and detailed iPhone 8 roundup.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017)
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Philips TVs won’t support Dolby Vision anytime soon

Whenever there is a new TV image technology there is always a period of consumer confusion as multiple standards and formats appear. HDR is no exception.

There are now four competing high dynamic range standards, with 4K Ultra HD televisions adopting any number of them. HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision and recent newcomer Technicolor are competing HDR standards that you’ll see on different TVs and that only serves to complicate buying decisions.

TP Vision, which manufactures televisions under the Philips brand, believes that only two of them are necessary. It is only supporting HDR10 – the most commonly used format for movies and gaming – and HLG – the format TV broadcasters are expected to use. It will not support Dolby Vision.

  • Philips 4K HDR TV choices for 2017: 9002 OLED, 7502, 6482 and 6412 compared
  • What is Dolby Vision? Dolby’s very own HDR TV tech explained
  • What is HDR, what TVs support HDR, and what HDR content can I watch?

The company revealed that there are no plans to support Dolby Vision any time soon and that “HDR10 and HLG are good enough for consumers” on their own.


Speaking during the launch of the 2017 Philips TV line-up, director of product strategy and planning at TP Vision, Danny Tack, said that it isn’t down to licensing fees, it’s just not necessary to have Dolby Vision at present: “We are watching to see what happens with Dolby Vision but don’t have plans for it now,” he explained.

“We’re not sure whether Dolby Vision would conflict with the new P5 processing engine anyway.”

Instead, all Philips 4K HDR sets for 2017 will come with HDR10 and HLG from the box. HLG compatibility is also being rolled out to the company’s 2016 Android TVs, alongside the Android M upgrade.

Tack had better news when it came to Quantum Dot TV tech. Philips plans to release its first Quantum Dot set later this year.


Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 vs Tag Heuer Connected: What’s the difference?

Tag Heuer has announced a new Connected watch, bringing some innovation to smartwatches with modularity.

It looks very much like the previous Connected watch, with both offering a sporty style and firmly placed in the luxury segment of the smartwatch market. 

So which Tag should you go for? Here’s how the differences break down. 

Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 vs Connected: Design

  • Both offer sporty design
  • Modular 45 offers much greater customisation
  • Better waterproofing on Modular 45

The Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 sticks to the same design as the Connected, offering sporty looks like Tag’s “normal” Carrera watches. Both watch bodies are titanium (although there’s rose gold and other material options), but the original Connected is grade 2, the new Modular 45 is grade 5, a titanium alloy.

The Modular 45 is a smaller diameter at 45mm compared to 46mm of the older model. The older Connected is 12.8mm thick whereas the new Modular 45 is 13.75mm thick. The new Modular model is 62.5g compared to 52g of the 2016 model. 

The case back on the new Modular 45 is also titanium, whereas the original Connected is plastic. The original watch is IP67 rated, whereas the new Modular 45 is rated to 5ATM, so it’s better protected.

However, the biggest design change is that the lugs are a separate piece from the watch module – so the lugs can be changed – and the watch module can be swapped from the Android Wear unit to a mechanical unit on the Modular 45. You’ll be able to buy a Calibre 05 automatic or tourbillon chronograph module separately, providing a lot more options.

The strap designs are similar, with both offering rubber in many colours, leather, ceramic and metal band options.

Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 vs Connected: Display 

  • AMOLED display with higher resolution on the 45
  • Old Connected has a larger display 

Ignoring the mechanical options on the Modular 45, the new watch comes with an AMOLED display that’s 1.39-inches diameter with a 400 x 400 pixel resolution, for 287 ppi. The original Connected has a 1.5-inch LCD display with 360 x 360 pixel resolution for 240ppi. 

The new model is smaller, but it’s a better type of display technology with a higher resolution, so it’s going to look better.

Both are topped with a sapphire glass cover. 

Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 vs Connected: Hardware specs

  • Same processor
  • Less RAM in the new watch
  • Same battery 

Both watches are Intel powered, the Connected offering an Atom Z34XX processor with 1GB RAM and 4GB storage. The new Modular 45 is also powered by an Atom Z34XX processor, but is detailed as having 512GB RAM and 4GB storage. There’s unlikely to be much difference in performance. 

Both Tag Heuer models also have 410mAh battery that use contact changing. Both watches also claim to be able to give you 24 hours of use, although the new model is pushing a higher resolution display and has more sensors to support. 

Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 vs Connected: Sensors and connectivity

  • Modular 45 gets NFC
  • Modular 45 gets GPS

The new Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 gets a range of new upgrades that open the door for more options. Both watches offer the regular Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for connectivity, and both also include motion sensors and gyroscope. 

The Modular 45, however, has GPS, meaning its better placed to serve you as a sporty device. You’ll be able to track your location in various apps, so you’ll know how far you’ve walked, run or biked without the need for your phone.

NFC also means you can use the Modular 45 with Android Pay. This adds convenience, meaning you can just tap your watch on compatible payment terminals, so there’s no need to get your card or phone out of your pocket.

Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 vs Connected: Price 

  • Tag Heuer Connected is £1100
  • Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 from £1400

The Tag Heuer Connected is £1100, with the Modular 45 £300 more at £1400. As detailed, you get a range of enhanced technologies for your money like those additional sensors and a better display. The expense is more likely to be explained away by the modular nature, in addition to the titanium backplate. This is only at the core level, however. 

The advantage that the Modular 45 offers is the wide range of customisation you’re offered. Although the Connected offers 11 base models – apart from opting for the £7500 rose gold body – the only real difference is the strap.

The Modular 45, however, has 56 base models in the collection. Not only can you choose the straps, you can choose the lugs – diamond set, rose gold, black ceramic – you can change the buckle, buy a mechanical watch body to replace the digital body, as well as pick a body that with a different colour bezel.

There’s the potential to spend a lot more money with the Modular 45 as you choose the perfect watch for you, but at the same time, there’s so much choice, you can make your watch a masterpiece.


Parrot’s new Bebop-Pro drone pack lets you scan and develop 3D models

Drone-maker Parrot has introduced what it describes as an “all-in-one aerial imagery and 3D-modeling solution”.

Dubbed the Parrot Bebop-Pro 3D Modeling, it’s a pack that includes a Parrot Bebop 2 drone with a Parrot Skycontroller 2 remote control. They work with the Pix4Dcapture app, which automatically captures aerial images, as well as the Pix4Dmodel software, which processes those images to create a 3D model. Parrot is positioning this 3D-modeling setup as a solution for real-estate and building professionals.

In other words, this is a high-performance scanning tool meant for developing commercial videos and 3D interactive models. It can also be used to capture measurements for cost estimates or 3D-model printing. The drone weighs just 500g, can be piloted easily via Wi-Fi with a mobile device or with the Parrot Skycontroller 2 (an included remote control that extends the piloting range more than a mile).

  • Best drones to buy in 2016, whatever your budget

The drone also has a built-in, digitally stabilised camera (Full HD 14MP) and offers a battery life that provides up to 25-minutes of flight time. When used with the Pix4Dcapture app, which is free for iOS and Android devices, it turns Parrot Bebop 2 in a photogrammetry tool. You can define the area to map on your mobile screen, and then the app will create an optimised flight plan.

In about 10 minutes, the Parrot Bebop 2 will fly over the predetermined zone to collect images and data, and in 30 minutes, the Pix4Dmodel image processing software will analyze and convert the images and data into a realistic 3D model. Georeferenced images are transmitted directly to the cloud to be processed, and you can access and edit the footage from your desktop.

Parrot’s Bebop-Pro 3D Modeling will be available from May 2017 at for (VAT excluded) £999.


Gmail for Android can send and receive payments as attachments

The Gmail app for Android has scored what used to be a web-only feature. It now has Google Wallet integration, so you can send and request money right within your emails. Say, you need to split the bill for a dinner — all you need to do is tap the attachment icon and click “Send money” to pay your friend. A Google Wallet pop up will ask you how much you want to send and will forward your payment as an attachment.

In case you’re typically the one receiving payments for group dinners, shared bills and the like, you can also tweak the feature’s settings to send the money straight to your bank account. The feature works even if your friends, roommates or co-workers don’t use Gmail, but only if you’re all in the US. Since it’s only available for users in the country and only on Android and the web, you’ll probably want to keep those other payment apps on your phone.

Source: Gmail


Signal’s encrypted video calling is now available to all

Signal, the encrypted chat app from Open Whisper Systems, now lets anyone chat privately on video. The feature, which first launched on Android last month, has come out of beta and is now available on both Android and iOS. The company spent the relatively short beta period “collecting feedback and addressing the issues” found by beta users, it said. As with texts and calls, video is encrypted end-to-end, so nobody, including spy agencies, can eavesdrop on your business.

Video calling is a new feature on iOS, and Open Whisper says it used CallKit to get the app “to the same level as the native iOS calling experience.” In other words, you can answer video calls with a touch directly from the lock screen, initiate them using the native contact app and see your chats on an iPhone’s “recent calls” list. The feature only works if both parties have enabled video calling, of course.

Open Whisper added a few new features requested by testers, too. You can now place peer-to-peer (P2P) calls rather than going through Signal’s server like before, reducing call latency. To make sure that your privacy is preserved, however, it’ll only do that if you initiate the call or receive one from a known contact. That way, your IP address and location won’t be exposed, as can happen in a P2P situation.

If desired, you can also change a setting to make calls through Signal’s service and avoid P2P altogether. To improve privacy, the company recently added a “domain fronting” option, routing all messages through Google’s domain to stop governments in nations like Egypt from blocking them.

WikiLeaks #Vault7 confirms CIA can effectively bypass Signal + Telegram + WhatsApp + Confide encryption

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) March 7, 2017

Open Whisper recently made headlines thanks to Wikileaks, which tweeted that the CIA could bypass Signal, WhatsApp and other encrypted apps (above). However, security researchers and privacy activists called that message “irresponsible and misleading” because the apps are still secure — in fact, the CIA and hackers can only intercept communications if they gain complete access to your phone.

Source: Open Whisper


V-Moda’s Remix speaker can be customized with 3D-printed parts

V-Moda has been experimenting with 3D printing since 2015, when it started letting customers personalize their XS and Crossfade M-100 headphones with 3D-printed shields. Just in time to kick off the music section of SXSW, the company is now taking this a step further by introducing the Remix, a Bluetooth speaker that’s customizable using 3D-printed parts made from different materials. They’re sold separately and allow you to modify the speaker’s housing, grill and sides, with prices ranging from $40 (fiber) to an insane $370,000 for a platinum version.

The Remix also doubles as a headphone amplifier, which is partially why V-Moda is pricing it higher than most Bluetooth speakers on the market. It’s available now for $300, in case you’re interested in something a bit out of the ordinary.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from SXSW 2017.

Source: V-Moda


‘La La Land’ composer on electronica’s key role in the film

Damien Chazelle’s La La Land might not have won that Oscar, but it did scoop up the one for Best Original Music Score. The man behind that score is Justin Hurwitz. Anyone who has seen the film will know that the soundtrack is largely divided between vintage Hollywood musical and classic jazz — the style favored by tortured musician Seb (Ryan Gosling). But for all of its antiquity, one of the biggest conflicts of the movie is Seb’s struggle with pop success after joining his friend Keith (John Legend) in a band that fuses jazz flavors with modern electronic music. Hurwitz’s challenge, then, was not only to score the movie but also create a musical backdrop to Seb’s journey of self discovery, a journey that ultimately proves to be a crucial fork in the movie’s twisting story.

Much has been said about La La Land’s tribute to musicals of the past. And while there are only a few flecks of modern music, they prove to be crucial to the conflict Seb endures as he tussles with the dilemma of success versus following his dream. We see this interaction between old and new most clearly when Seb reluctantly joins The Messengers, a band lead by his friendly rival Keith (Legend). We learn early on that Gosling’s character is an inveterate jazz snob, to the point where his most prized possession is a stool once owned by Hoagy Carmichael. And it’s a snobbery that constantly holds him back (until — spoiler alert — it arguably sets him free).

The first time Seb jams with The Messengers, his jazz piano melody is unexpectedly interrupted by a drum machine (a Native Instruments’ Maschine, no less). For Seb this is an affront to his neo-bop sensibilities. For Keith, it’s progression — something he’s all too quick to point out to Seb as what jazz is fundamentally about. The scene is short, but it’s a pivotal moment.

“That whole sequence was a really important part of the movie, so we spent some time figuring out what that scene would be, and where in that scene the electronic drum machine would kick in, and what Sebastian’s reaction would be […] Part of the story is that Seb is a traditionalist, and Keith hauls him into this different world of music that becomes increasingly more modern, and increasingly electronic,” Hurwitz told Engadget.

This new-versus-old narrative culminates with the performance of “Start a Fire,” one of the movie’s tentpole songs. It’s also the most tech-infused scene of the movie, with appearances from Roli’s Seaboard, among other modern music gear. Hurwitz said, “With ‘Start a Fire’ it was a case of ‘let’s find a piece of music that can support and increasingly electronic soundscape as it goes on.’”

“Start a Fire” would ultimately be chosen as the soundtrack to one of the more upbeat trailers, where the song’s own progression from jazz to electro-pop can be heard from start to finish — itself something of a metaphor for Seb’s reluctant career path.

“The instruments we used in the ‘Start a Fire’ scenes were really conscious decisions,” Hurwitz said. “In the case of the Roli Seaboard, I didn’t know what that was. There was an executive music producer on the movie who was familiar with that instrument, so he suggested we use it.”

Of course, while this scene is pretty much the one concession to modern music technology in the whole movie (bar the drum-machine moment), there’s still some restraint. Too many times we’ve seen the message of “modern music” telegraphed in a heavy-handed manner. In La La Land’s most contemporary scene, there’s no awkward DJ, no lasers or Prodigy-era “edgy” beats to drill home what’s going on. Hurwitz skillfully introduces the right amount of technology to trigger Seb’s anachronistic tendencies.

“We wanted Sebastian to feel out of his comfort zone,” Hurwitz said. “Especially in the beginning, but we didn’t want anything to be too ridiculous. You know, we didn’t want people wearing Daft Punk helmets or anything too crazy.”

There might not be any Daft Punk helmets, but the scene still stands out for its musical uniqueness within the movie. It’s a lone contemporary flame in a forest fire of paper turning, orchestral scores and freestyle jazz. But it illustrates how Hurwitz worked with Director Damien Chazelle to create a movie that itself is a modern tribute to an art form of the past.

“That was part of Damien’s goal with this movie too,” Hurwitz said. “The movie is obviously inspired by older movies, older musicals. Genres that are associated with the past. But Damien was making something that feels modern, feels contemporary, that feels fresh. That feels very much its own take on that genre.”

When you have a movie that’s not only about music but also a musical about music, one has to wonder if the character of the person that scores it inevitably seeps into the musical protagonist. When I asked Hurwitz about his own musical leanings, any such notion was short lived.

“I think I’m more progressive than Seb,” he said. “Honestly, what’s on the radio in my car when I’m driving is top 40. I love pop music.” However, when he was pressed specifically about jazz, it turned out that Hurwitz and Seb might still have some things in common. “I have nothing against modern jazz. I just don’t know it as well as I need to. I need to start getting more into what’s been happening with jazz in the past 30 plus years.”

It’s ultimately Legend’s Keith that sums up the movie — and its score — best when he gently reminds Seb after their jam session, “How are you gonna be a revolutionary if you’re such a traditionalist?” And with a healthy collection of Oscars and Golden Globes with La La Land etched on them, it’s hard to argue with that logic.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from SXSW 2017.


Samsung’s The Frame TV doubles as an art piece

Samsung has hyped its 2017 TV lineup to the Moon and back, but it still has room for a few surprises. The tech giant has offered more details about its previously-teased The Frame, a TV that’s designed to (you guessed it) double as a picture frame. Switch on an Art Mode and it’ll display over 100 pieces of art whenever you’re not using it — effectively, it becomes another part of your home decor. It’s clearly meant to hang on your wall (it uses Samsung’s new gapless wall mount and Invisible Connection), and you can swap out bezels to match the look of your living room. There’s also an optional Studio Stand if wall placement isn’t in the cards.

The company is shy on specs and pricing for The Frame, but it is willing to commit to a launch sometime this spring. We wouldn’t expect it to be a budget set, though, given that Samsung’s earlier Serif TV carried a hefty price tag relative to its screen size.

Also, it’s a good day if you’ve been waiting to buy one of Samsung’s QLED sets. The company now says that its latest-generation quantum dot TVs are available now, with prices currently starting at $2,800 (decidedly higher than mentioned in February) for the 55-inch Q7 and topping out at $6,800 for the 75-inch Q8. There’s no word on the Q9 yet, unfortunately. Again, the focus is on raw image quality: metal quantum dots promise a wider range of color regardless of the brightness level, and you should also see both higher brightness as well as deeper black levels.

To top things off, Samsung is also outlining when key peripherals will arrive. The M9500 4K Blu-ray player will show up in April for $399, while the all-in-one MS750 Sound+ Soundbar will land in the summer at an as yet unknown price.

Source: Samsung


UK to make online ticket-buying bots illegal

A new amendment slipped into the Digital Economy Bill, which is now pretty close to becoming UK law, would make the use of online tout bots that hoover up tickets to popular music, sport and other events a criminal offense punishable by unlimited fines (but not imprisonment). Websites typically limit the number of tickets an individual can buy for obvious reasons, but computerized tools that circumvent these caps allow scalpers to buy more than their fair share, if there is such a thing in this context.

This sucks for consumers, as it makes buying legitimate tickets a maddening race. Lose that sprint, and one of your only options is to buy them from a reseller like Viagogo or StubHub at a mark-up, which are sometimes obscene depending on the event/seats, not to mention the sites’ additional fees. Making the use of bots a criminal offense should restore some order to the secondary ticketing racket, though how it would be policed and the law enforced requires a little more forethought.

The UK government has been looking to address problems with ticket touts and resellers for a while now, taking evidence from industry stakeholders and commissioning a report by Warwick University Economics Professor Mike Waterson. The general consensus is that, with state aid, primary ticket vendors and resellers should be responsible for building abuse-resistant systems, and work with the police when breaches of the law have occurred. The Competition and Markets Authority are already investigating resellers to make sure they are giving customers all info relevant to their purchase, such as exact seating location, where the tickets are coming from and what restrictions may apply.

Ticket touts aren’t just a problem in the UK, of course. At the end of last year, then President Obama outlawed the use of ticket bots across the US, following New York State’s earlier, regional ban.

Via: BBC

Source: Digital Economy Bill (1), (2)

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