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16
May

Apple Exploring North Carolina, Northern Virginia for New Campus


For the last several months, Apple has been exploring locations for a new campus focusing on technical support, and according to new reports, sites in North Carolina and Northern Virginia are under consideration.

The Washington Post says Apple has explored opening a campus for 20,000 employees in Northern Virginia, an area Amazon is also considering for its new campus.

Image of Apple Park via drone pilot Duncan Sinfield
Apple told economic development officials in Northern Virginia that it is seeking four million square feet of space to accommodate 20,000 jobs, and officials proposed several potential sites.

The sites proposed by Northam’s staff for Apple include office buildings and development sites in Crystal City, privately owned Loudoun County land near the Center for Innovative Technology and the Scotts Run development in Tysons.

Two of those locations, Crystal City and the Loudoun land, are part of sites Northam also pitched to Amazon. Both companies plan to make a decision this year.

Separately, the Triangle Business Journal says that Apple is considering establishing its new campus in Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. Research Triangle Park, a 22 million square foot research park, has become an attractive site for tech companies and is known as North Carolina’s technology hub due to its proximity to NC State, the University of North Carolina, and Duke University.

Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly met with North Carolina governor Roy Cooper and commerce secretary Tony Copeland while Cook was in town over the weekend to give the commencement speech at Duke University.

Apple in January said that it would invest $350 billion in the U.S. economy and create 20,000 jobs over the next five years, partially through the launch of a fourth major campus. At the time, Apple said that the campus would not be built in California or Texas, which is where its current campuses are located.

The company declined to provide additional details on the campus’ location, and has since been exploring its options and negotiating with various states for tax cuts and other benefits.

Apple’s upcoming campus will not be like its major corporate campuses in Northern California, One Infinite Loop and Apple Park, as it is expected to be focused on housing customer service and technical support employees.

Apple CEO Tim Cook in March said that Apple is “not doing the beauty contest thing” for its new campus, taking a dig at Amazon’s decision to announce 20 finalist cities as the potential locations for its own new campus. “That’s not Apple,” he said.

“From our point of view, we didn’t want to create this contest, because I think what comes out of that is you wind up putting people through a ton of work to select one, so that is a case where you have a winner and a lot of losers. I don’t like that,” Cook added at the time.
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16
May

Apple Releases Safari Technology Preview 56 With Bug Fixes and Feature Improvements


Apple today released a new update for Safari Technology Preview, the experimental browser Apple first introduced over two years ago in March of 2016. Apple designed the Safari Technology Preview to test features that may be introduced into future release versions of Safari.

Safari Technology Preview release 56 includes bug fixes and feature improvements for JavaScript, WebAssembly, Web API, Security, CSS, Rendering, Media, and Web Inspector.

The Safari Technology Preview update is available through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store to anyone who has downloaded the browser. Full release notes for the update are available on the Safari Technology Preview website.

Apple’s aim with Safari Technology Preview is to gather feedback from developers and users on its browser development process. Safari Technology Preview can run side-by-side with the existing Safari browser and while designed for developers, it does not require a developer account to download.

Tag: Safari Technology Preview
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16
May

Twitter Shares Pricing on New Account Activity APIs, Some Third-Party Apps in Jeopardy


Twitter today unveiled new details on its upcoming activity API changes, which will affect how third-party apps are able to access Twitter APIs and provide services to Twitter users who prefer to use apps like Twitterrific and Tweetbot.

Third-party Twitter app developers will be required to purchase a Premium or Enterprise Account Activity API package to access a full set of activities related to a Twitter account including Tweets, @mentions, Replies, Retweets, Quote Tweets, Retweets of Quoted Tweets, Likes, Direct Messages Sent, Direct Messages Received, Follows, Blocks, Mutes, typing indicators, and read receipts.

Premium API access, which provides access to up to 250 accounts, is priced at $2,899 per month, while enterprise access is more expensive, with pricing quotes available from Twitter following an application for an enterprise account.

At least some third-party apps have said they will not be able to afford access to the new Twitter APIs, including Twitterrific.

It’s looking like it won’t be financially possible for us to afford the new account activity API from twitter.

— Sean Heber (@BigZaphod) May 16, 2018

These APIs also will not include access to streaming connections, which Twitter says are used by only 1 percent of monthly active apps.

There’s no streaming connection capability as is used by only 1% of monthly active apps. Also there’s no home timeline data. We have no plans to add that data to Account Activity API or create a new streaming service. However, home timeline data remains accessible via REST API.

— Twitter Dev (@TwitterDev) May 16, 2018

Twitter says it will be delaying the deprecation of its current APIs for three months to give developers time to transition over to the new platform. These APIs will be deprecated on Wednesday, August 16 instead of June 19, the original date Twitter planned to end support for the APIs.

It is not yet clear what impact all of these changes will have on major third-party Twitter apps, but we should hear updated details soon. Tapbots, the creators of Tweetbot for Mac and iOS, said on Tuesday that its apps will continue to function, but a few features could be slower or removed.

Tapbots says the worse case scenario on Mac is that notifications for likes and retweets will not be displayed, and notifications for tweets, mentions, quotes, DMs, and Follows could be delayed by one to two minutes.

Tag: Twitter
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16
May

Save your tweeting eyes with Tweetbot 3’s new dark mode on MacOS


A new version of one of our favorite iPhone apps, Tweetbot, has been released for MacOS and it makes the whole experience of scrolling through tweets a lot more comfortable to do late at night. With a new dark mode, you can read tweets all evening without messing with your circadian rhythm and enjoy other new features like better timeline management and more accessible buttons for retweets and direct messages.

Although Twitter might be more keen for its millions of users to use its official applications or web address for interacting on the social platform, there are a number of popular third-party alternatives that enhance the service’s functionality. Tweetbot is one of those and in its third official guise, it’s become more functional, and comfortable to use, than ever.

Tweetbot 3 for Mac’s most obvious feature is its new dark theme, which gives the interface and backdrop a grey theme that should be much more pleasing to view when in a darkened environment. Text is converted to an easy-to-read light grey, though images and video are left alone to really pop among the darkened surroundings.

Elsewhere in the update, there is a newly expanded sidebar giving you one-click access to all your lists, direct messages, and saved searches. There are also much more powerful customization controls in Tweetbot 3, letting you filter your timeline to show only what you want to see, as well as the ability to drag and drop columns so you can change the layout to whatever suits you best.

Other features include support for a new fullscreen mode, giving you a better look at all the tweets you may be interested in, and a new multiple-account system that lets you quickly switch between different accounts you have access to.

Tweetbot 3 is a paid upgrade that’s currently priced at $10 on the app store. It has already notched up more than 50 reviews with an solidly positive overall rating. The Verge seems quite fond of it, too, though it does point out that Twitter hasn’t always been a fan of these sorts of third-party apps and has threatened in the past to shut them down. That doesn’t seem likely to happen in the near future, but be aware the potential always exists for Tweetbot and its contemporaries to cease to work at the whim of the platform provider.


16
May

What is Google Duplex?


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What you need to know about Google Duplex, a new smart way for Assistant to be more like an assistant.

At Google I/O 2018 we saw a demo of Google’s latest new cool thing, Duplex. The 60-foot screen onstage showed what looks just like your Google Assistant app with a line-by-line playback of Assistant making a phone call to a hairdresser and setting up an appointment, complete with the pauses, the ummms and ahhhs, and the rest of the idiosyncrasies that accompany human speech. The person taking the appointment didn’t seem to know they were talking to a computer because it didn’t sound like a computer. Not even a little bit.

That kind of demo looks amazing (and maybe a little creepy) but what about the details? What is Duplex, exactly? How does it even work? We all have questions when we see something this different and finding answers spread across the internet is a pain. Let’s go over what we know so far about Google Duplex.

What is Google Duplex?

It’s a new tool from Google that aims to use Artificial intelligence (AI) to “accomplish real-world tasks over the phone” according to Google’s AI researchers and developers. For now, that means very specific tasks like making appointments, but the tech is being developed with an eye on expansion into other areas. Spending billions to create a cool way to make dinner reservations sounds like something Google would do but isn’t a great use of time or money.

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Duplex is also more than we saw in a demo and if it ever leaves the lab will be a lot more than we see or hear on our end. There are huge banks of data and the computers to process it involved that aren’t nearly as cool as the final result. But they are essential because making a computer talk and think, in real time, like a person is hard.

Isn’t this just like speech-to-text?

Nope. Not even close. And that’s why it’s a big deal.

Duplex is designed to change the way a computer “talks” on the phone.

The goal for Duplex is to make things sound natural and for Assistant to think on the fly to find an appointment time that works. If Joe says, “Yeah, about that — I don’t have anything open until 10, is that OK?” Assistant needs to understand what Joe is saying, figure out what that means, and think if what Joe is offering will work for you. If you’re busy across town at 10 and it will take 40 minutes to drive to Joe’s Garage, Assistant needs to be able to figure that out and say 11:15 would be good.

Equally important for Google is that Duplex answers and sounds like a person. Google has said it wanted the person on the phone not to know they were talking to a computer, though eventually decided it would be best to inform them. When we talk to people, we talk faster and less formal (read: incoherent babbling from a computer’s point of view) than when we’re talking to Assistant on our phone or the computer at the DMV when we call in. Duplex needs to understand this and recreate it when replying.

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Finally, and most impressive, is that Duplex has to understand context. Friday, next Friday, and Friday after next week are all terms you and I understand. Duplex needs to understand them, too. If we talked the same way we type this wouldn’t be an issue, but we umm you know don’t because it sounds just sounds so stuffy yeah it’s not like confusing though we have heard it all our lives and are used to it so no we don’t have problems you know understanding it or nothing like that.

I’ll administer first aid to my editor after typing that while you say it out loud, so you see what this means.

How does Duplex work?

From the user end, it’s as simple as telling Assistant to do something. For now, as mentioned, that something is limited to making appointments so we would say, “Hey Google make me an appointment for an oil change at Joe’s Garage for Tuesday morning,” and (after it reminded us to say please) it would call up Joe’s Garage and set things up, then add it to your calendar.

google-io-2018-google-home-continued-con Continued Conversations use much of the same underlying technology as Duplex.

Pretty nifty. But what happens off camera is even niftier.

Duplex is using what’s called a recurrent neural network. It’s built using Google’s TensorFlow Extended technology. Google trained the network on all those anonymized voicemails and Google Voice conversations you agreed to let it listen to if you opted in with a mix of speech recognition software and the ability to consider the history of the conversation and details like the time of day and location of both parties.

Essentially, an entire network of high-powered computers is crunching data in the cloud and talking through Assistant on your phone or other product that has Assistant on board.

What about security and privacy?

It comes down to one simple thing: do you trust Google. On-device machine intelligence is a real thing, though it’s constrained and relatively new. Google has developed ML Kit to help developers do more of this sort of thing on the device itself, but it’s all a matter of computing power. It takes an incredible amount of computations to make a hair appointment this way, and there’s no way it could be done on your phone or Google Home.

You have to trust Google with your data to use its smart products and Duplex will be no different.

Google needs to tap into much of your personal data to do the special things Assistant can do right now, and Duplex doesn’t change that. What’s new here is that now there is another party involved who didn’t explicitly give Google permission to listen to their conversation.

If/when Duplex becomes an actual consumer product for anyone to use, expect it to be criticized and challenged in courts. And it should be; letting Google decide what’s best for our privacy is like the old adage of two foxes and a chicken deciding what’s for dinner.

When will I have Duplex on my phone?

google-io-2018-assistant-phone-more-visu Expect some big changes to Assistant later this year.

Nobody knows right now. It may never happen. Google gets excited when it can do this sort of fantastic thing and wants to share it with the world. That doesn’t mean it will be successful or ever become a real product.

For now, Duplex is being tested in a closed and supervised environment. If all goes well, an initial experimental release to consumers to make restaurant reservations, schedule hair salon appointments, and get holiday hours over the phone will be coming later this year using Assistant on phones only.

Where can I learn more?

Google is surprisingly open about the tech it is using to create Duplex. You’ll find relevant information at the following websites:

  • Google AI blog (Google)
  • Deepmind
  • Tensorflow.org
  • The Cornell University Library
  • Google Research (Google)
  • The Keyword (Google)
  • ML Kit (Google)

Of course, we’re also following Duplex closely, and you’ll hear the latest developments right here as soon as they are available.

16
May

3 awesome things you get with your PlayStation Plus subscription


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PlayStation Plus is a lot more than a subscription service. It’s an essential part of the PS4 experience.

It seems that nearly every video game console developer has some version of a premium online subscription service. Nintendo will soon be launching a premium online subscription service, Microsoft has had Xbox Live Gold for quite some time now, and of course, Sony has PlayStation Plus.

Each platform offers various services and perks for their subscribers. Have you been kicking around the idea of pulling the trigger on a PlayStation Plus subscription but you’re not entirely sure what you will be getting in exchange for your hard earned dollars? Let’s take a look at three things you will get with your PS Plus subscription.

Online play

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With the exception of free to play or subscription based games, a PlayStation Plus account is required to play multiplayer games online. So that means if you are picking up a copy of Destiny 2 and you expect to jump online and start leveling up your character right away, then you had better keep in mind that a PS Plus subscription is going to end up being part of your total cost.

Unfortunately, there are some games that are almost entirely online and without a PS Plus subscription there won’t be much you can do with your game other than using it as a sixty dollar coaster. Your PlayStation Plus subscription ensures that you will be able to hop online and start killing stuff with your friends.

Deals, Deals, Deals!

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I would have to imagine that there were a few years there while Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo watched as gamers sacrificed their wallets at the altar of Steam sales. After seeing the sheer volume of product moved by Steam they had no choice but to join them rather than try to beat them.

With your PlayStation Plus subscription, you will be privy to multitudes of sales and discounts. The common rabble will be stuck paying full price while you will be getting discounts that will occasionally dive as deep as 80%. If you are money conscience then you can rest easy knowing you are getting deals that you can’t always get elsewhere.

Free games!

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One of the most appealing features of a PlayStation Plus account is what’s sometimes referred to as the Instant Game Collection. Every month, PS Plus subscribers will get access to two select games for absolutely free. That means that by the end of a one-year subscription you could have 24 games.

Something else that should be mentioned is that there are two free selected games on PS4, Vita, AND PS3. If you have all three consoles that’s a pretty smoking deal.

Another important thing to note is that if you cancel your PlayStation Plus account you will lose access to the games that you received for free. You only have those free games while your account is active.

Give PS Plus a try

If your interest has been piqued and you would like to give PS Plus a spin then you have an option to give it a chance for free. Sony offers a 14-day free trial which will give you the opportunity to get that beak wet without spending any money. If you decide that you love it you essentially have 3 options.

You can pay $9.99 a month, $24.99 every three months or you can drop $59.99 and you will be set for the whole year. If you don’t feel like handing your credit card info over to Sony then you can also pick up a PlayStation Plus subscription card at applicable brick and mortar retailers or you can just snag one off of Amazon.

Personally, I really dig PlayStation Plus. I have had a subscription since I first picked up my PS4 and I have been happy with it the whole time. As far as I am concerned, the free games alone make it worth the price of admission. If I have to have the subscription to play games online with my friends anyway, it’s nice to have the addition of free games and discounts.

Update May 2018: We’ve updated this article with the best PlayStation Plus has to offer.

PlayStation 4

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  • PS4 vs. PS4 Slim vs. PS4 Pro: Which should you buy?
  • PlayStation VR Review
  • Playing PS4 games through your phone is awesome

Amazon

16
May

What Android phone do you plan on buying next?


So many options to choose from.

When it’s time to buy a new smartphone, it can be hard to not feel like a kid in a candy shop. The options that are available to us are better than ever before, meaning you can get a darn good handset no matter how much you plan on spending.

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However, with so many brands and models to choose from, how do you know what’s really best for you?

A few of the AC forum users recently shared their input on what they’re looking at for their next smartphone purchase, and this is what they had to say.

avatar710602_5.gifMorty2264
05-11-2018 12:05 PM

I haven’t really thought too much about it – I love my Pixel 2 so much! – but probably something from Pixel, HTC, or OnePlus. Or LG.

As you can probably tell, it’s hard for me to choose between phones. 🤣

Reply

avatar3047869_1.gifHotFix
05-12-2018 08:52 PM

I’m leaning towards a Samsung Galaxy S9 Active when they come out. Dual speakers and Dolby Atmos so it won’t be a step down audio wise.

Reply

avatar3026890_1.gifItsa_Me_Mario
05-14-2018 08:47 PM

For me using the pixesl, in addition to “stock Android”, the benefits of a class leading camera, only OEM giving consist updates, only oem taking security seriously, only oem not selling/sharing user data, metal body, USB-power delivery support, class leading performance, class leading software experience, excellent battery life and other features make it a winning lineup for me. But I definitely…

Reply

default.jpgRumblee1
05-14-2018 08:08 PM

I had a pixel phone. Other than pure Android, the pixel sucked. I went right back to my Axon7 and S7 EDGE. Now I’m on an LG V30 and loving it.

Reply

Now, we want to hand the mic over to you! What do you plan on buying for your next smartphone?

Join the conversation in the forums!

16
May

Chromebook vs. iPads: Closer than ever to being actual computers


The future of Chrome OS is to compete with the iPad, but it’s a long fight.

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It should be abundantly clear by now that Android tablets are never going to catch on. Instead, it looks more and more like Google is positioning Chrome OS with Android apps to fill that space. Chromebooks have been tremendously successful in the quest to replace the traditional computer over the last couple of years, especially in school settings. At the same time, Apple’s iPads are the only reason the tablet market continues to exist today. Lots of people own iPads, and many claim these tablets are just fine as a replacement for a computer.

To get a feel for what Chrome OS and iOS offer people who want an alternative to their computer, I spent a week using nothing but a 10.5-inch iPad Pro with a keyboard cover and an Acer Chromebook R13 Convertible. While I didn’t find either of them to be a computer replacement for me, in many ways both Google and Apple are damn close.

Hardware

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While Chromebooks come in a lot of different options, from a lot of different companies, including soon a keyboard-free tablet form factor, these machines are by and large an inexpensive PC. Google offers the premium Pixelbook for those eager to shell out that much money, but most of the time what you are buying is a fairly standard laptop or convertible with a unique operating system on board.

You can find decent Chromebooks for not a lot of money, whereas the cheapest iPad and keyboard costs close to $400.

This Acer model is an excellent lower-end Chromebook with a fair look at what you can expect from most Chromebooks, by which I mean it’s an OK laptop with an okay-ish experience. The body has tons of ports, so I can attach a flash drive or a printer or a microSD card if I want. The display, speakers, and camera are ok but not exceptional in any way. The keyboard is nice for a laptop keyboard, but the trackpad is pretty gross compared to just about everything. The convertible hinge makes flipping between laptop and tablet super easy, and the design is just bulky enough to convince me it will survive a drop or two without any serious damage.

Where this machine really stands out is the battery. Rated for 48Wh, this battery gets me through two full work days before it needs to be charged. And since it charges via USB-C, I can charge it with the same cable and battery and wall plug I use with my phone.

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Apple’s iPad Pro comes in two sizes, and choosing between the two has everything to do with how you intend to use it. I did not need the 12-inch version, but the smaller 10.5-inch iPad Pro travels with me quite well. It’s super thin and ridiculously light, with a beautiful display and surprisingly loud speakers. The only port is the Lightning port on the bottom, and the headphone jack is at the top, but there are adapters for connecting flash drives if you need one.

USB-C charging makes all the difference.

To type on this, I need to attach the $160 Smart Keyboard or try to use the virtual keyboard. Imagine the stuff on the outside of a regular iPad cover over a set of small keys, and you’ve got some idea of how this feels. The individual keys are decently spaced apart, making typing even on the smaller keyboard surprisingly comfortable. The wedge design lets you comfortably use the iPad like a laptop on your lap, but it removes the ability to control the angle the screen sits. There are other cases which offer a little more flexibility, but they’re not nearly as lovely as this keyboard.

Battery life on the iPad Pro 10.5 is enough to get me through a work day, but not usually enough to get me through much more than that. Apple claims the 30.4Wh battery in this model will get you up to 10 hours of use, but when you’ve got more than one app running on this machine that battery drains quite a bit faster. The good news is you can charge these iPads fairly quickly with a USB-C to Lightning cable and a Rapid Charging adapter. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t include either in the box with the iPad Pro 10.5, and the included charger isn’t particularly fast.

Software

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Apps rule the world these days, but there’s a lot of discussion around how much “work” you can do in an app-only ecosystem. Many of the apps Chromebooks and iPads have access to were designed with Android phones or iPhone in mind, and not built to support a workflow where you’re using the app for hours on end to get a big project done, right? These days this is less true than you might think, but there are still some usability issues with both platforms.

Chromebooks started out by giving you Chrome as the only interface, and nothing else. This works for several groups of people, since so much if done in the browser these days anyway. Recent builds of Chrome have way more features, including offline mode for people who aren’t connected to WiFi and access to a vast majority of Android apps available in the Google Play Store. This means I can use the mobile version of Adobe Lightroom, which gives me the ability to edit RAW photos and syncs everything back to my desktop. While it’s not exactly as capable of the Desktop Lightroom, it’s way better than most alternatives. Having access to a full desktop browser is something you don’t get on mobile devices, no matter what platform you use. When you add Android apps to this, you get a healthy mix of usability options.

It’s common to dismiss iPad as just big iPhones, but when you attach that Smart Keyboard and dig into apps you get quite a few features that don’t exist on the phone yet.

For example, instead of letting Slack and Trello live in browser tabs on Chrome OS, I can give them their own windows and let them run as Android apps. These windows snap in place quickly so I can switch between them with a tap or a click, and everything I see on the screen is running in the foreground. I can control how big each window is on the screen, offering up quite a bit of flexibility in setting up my experience. I can get crazy and have 10 apps open on my desktop, or keep it simple and focus on getting work done.

Unfortunately, a lot of this experience disappears when you turn the Chromebook into a tablet. When the keyboard goes away, Chrome OS turns all of the Android apps into full-screen apps, which means I now have a big clumsy 13-inch Android tablet that also has Chrome. This is not ideal, and something Google is working to fix in the next couple of Chrome OS updates. Updates, by the way, are one of best things about Chrome OS. They are constantly rolling out, install with the greatest of ease, and every Chromebook gets the update as soon as it is available.

It’s common to dismiss iPad as just big iPhones, but when you attach that Smart Keyboard and dig into apps, you get quite a few features that don’t exist on the phone yet. Apple has implemented split window support on iPads so that you can run two apps in side-by-side windows. When these apps are stuck to one another, they stay stuck even when you leave the apps to run something else. You can come back to those apps days later, and they will both be there just as you left them. In some cases, apps that are stuck side-by-side like this have file sharing features to make it easy to send things from one app to another.

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You can also combine split window with picture-in-picture, which means I can have a video playing in the corner while I’m photo editing and keeping up with my co-workers in our group chat. Suddenly the app-driven experience that was once limited to a single app on the screen at a time is now running three apps simultaneously with adjustable app sizes for each. On a 10-inch screen, that’s a lot to have running all at once and easily dismisses any feelings that this experience isn’t a “real” computer while using it.

But it’s not perfect. For starters, very few apps support all of these features. The Apple apps will, of course, but deviating from that frequently causes problems. Splitting the screen with another app required a lot of trial and error, as well as having the app in my dock for convenient switching. Not every video app supports picture-in-picture either, which causes other problems. It’s not a universal experience, and that means you have to work to find the apps which support the workflow you want to create.

Summing it all up

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I reject the “real work” argument against Chromebooks and iPads, but there’s a lot of improvements needed to make these experiences feel polished. If Google is planning to go all in with Chromebooks as tablets, the software needs to be a lot more flexible in that tablet mode. Before I reach for an iPad to take with me as my only computer, I need a way to know what apps are optimized for my workflow before figuring out the hard way. The irony of my conclusion isn’t lost on me; iPads make great tablets which sort of make OK computers in a pinch, where Chromebooks make great laptops which sort of make ok tablets in a pinch.

But if I were to choose between the two experiences right now, I’d go Chromebook without hesitation. Having access to a full desktop browser is a huge deal, and the things you can do in that browser on a Chromebook simply can’t be done on an iPad. Being able to create my own filenames shouldn’t be something that requires a hacky workaround, but Apple has no native solution for this seemingly obvious thing. Safari on the iPad still opens many websites in mobile view by default, and when the answer to that problem is “just use the app” there needs to be a guarantee that app isn’t also offering a mediocre experience.

Take a look at the best Chromebooks you can buy today!

16
May

Nokia X6 announced in China with notched display and glass back


Pricing works out to around $200 USD.

The Nokia 6.1 has been making its way to various parts of the world as Nokia’s ultimate mid-range smartphone for 2018, but just a couple weeks after the phone launched in the U.S., China’s getting an all-new handset in the form of the Nokia X6.

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Although the X6 shares a similar name to the 6.1, it’s an all-around better-looking and more powerful smartphone for about the same price. The Nokia X6 features a glass body with a fingerprint sensor on the back, and just like every other OEM, Nokia’s slapped a notch onto the X6’s 5.8-inch display

That display has a resolution of 1080 x 2280 with a 19:9 aspect ratio and Gorilla Glass 3 covers it to prevent as many scratches and scrapes as possible.

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Flip the Nokia X6 over, and you’ll find a 16MP + 5MP camera combo – the latter of which is a black and white sensor. Under the hood is the Snapdragon 636 processor, 3,060 mAh battery, 4GB/6GB RAM, and 32GB/64B of internal storage. There’s also a USB-C port for charging and the endangered 3.5mm headphone jack makes an appearance.

Nokia is only selling the X6 in China for the time-being, and while it’s possible those plans could change down the road, I wouldn’t hold my breath for it.

If you do live in China, however, the 32GB/4GB RAM model starts at CNY 1,299 (around $203 USD) while the 64GB/6GB RAM option costs CNY 1,699 (around $266 USD).

See at Nokia

16
May

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+: Everything you need to know!


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Samsung once again has a fantastic pair of flagships.

Samsung’s new Galaxy S9 and S9+ are definitely iterative updates over last year’s dramatically redesigned Galaxy S8 series, but that’s not a problem. Instead of going back to the drawing board altogether, Samsung focused on fixing a lot of the issues while making drastic improvements to the camera experience and retaining everything that made the last generation so great.

Whether you’re looking to buy or make the most of your new Galaxy S9, we have all of the information you need right here.

May 16, 2018 — Samsung announces two new colors and ARCore is finally available

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The S9 series launched in a handful of stunning colors and Samsung’s now adding two more to the list with Sunrise Gold and Burgundy Red.

If you’re interested in the Sunrise Gold variant, you’ll be able to pick it up starting this June in Australia, Chile, Germany, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam. The eye-catching Burgundy Red will, unfortunately, see a much more limited release, with availability only planned for China and Korea later this month.

In addition to the new colors, it was also discovered that both the S9 and S9+ finally support Google’s ARCore!

What are the big changes over the Galaxy S8 series?

In a word, the camera. Samsung has kept the primary sensor at 12 megapixels, but that’s where the similarities end. The S9 and S9+ have adjustable apertures, switching seamlessly between f/1.5 and f/2.4, sitting in front of an all-new sensor that is great in low light. The Galaxy S9+ also gets a second 12MP sensor with a “telephoto” lens that provides 2X zoom and facilitates Live Focus, Samsung’s version of portrait mode that debuted with the Galaxy Note 8.

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ specs

In terms of specs, the Galaxy S9+ (but only the S9+) has two more gigabytes of RAM than last year’s models. And let’s not downplay the importance of the fingerprint sensor being relocated to a much more sensible place on the back of the phone — below the now-vertical camera module.

Samsung Galaxy S9 review: A fantastic phone for the masses

Samsung Galaxy S9 India review: As good as it gets

Should you upgrade to the Galaxy S9?

This is the big question — and as always, it depends. If you’re running a Galaxy S6 or S7, and want to move to something new in the Samsung world, the answer is absolutely. If you’re rocking a still-new Galaxy S8 or Note 8, the answer is no. While there are substantial differences that clearly make the Galaxy S9 a better phone, the S8 is just a year old at this point, and has most of the Galaxy S9’s features thanks to its Android 8.0 Oreo update.

Samsung Galaxy S9 vs. Galaxy S8: Should you upgrade?

Samsung Galaxy S9+ vs. Galaxy Note 8: Which should you buy?

Is the Galaxy S9 better than the competition?

There are so many great phones on the market right now — how do you decide which one to buy? Here are our looks at the new phones compared to some of the best devices on the market.

The Galaxy S9 is the smaller of the flagships, and here’s how it compares to some of the other major phones on the market.

Samsung Galaxy S9 vs. iPhone X: The best of metal and glass

Samsung Galaxy S9 vs. Google Pixel 2: Which should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy S9 vs. Honor View 10

And how about the larger Galaxy S9+?

Samsung Galaxy S9+ vs. Google Pixel 2 XL: The true flagships

Samsung Galaxy S9+ vs. OnePlus 5T: Here’s what the extra $300 gets you

Should you buy the Galaxy S9 or larger S9+?

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OK, so you’ve made up your mind to buy the Galaxy S9 — but wait, should you get the S9 or the larger S9+?

Unlike last year, the Galaxy S9+ feels like more of the “default” choice of the two. It has extra RAM and a secondary rear camera in addition to its overall larger screen and bigger battery — yet the price delta between the two hasn’t changed. If you can handle the size difference and would like the extra battery life, go for the Galaxy S9+.

Here’s why the Galaxy S9+ is worth the extra money over the GS9

What colors are available?

Like last year, there are multiple colors of the Galaxy S9 series to purchase: Midnight Black, Lilac Purple, Coral Blue and Titanium Gray. U.S. buyers only get access to three of the four — silver is only available internationally — and both blue and purple are slight updates over last year.

A few months after the S9’s release, Samsung introduced two new colors in the form of Sunrise Gold and Burgundy Red. These models will be available in select markets around the world, but there are currently no plans to launch them in the U.S.

What color Galaxy S9 should I buy: Black, blue, purple, or silver?

Galaxy S9 and S9+ get Sunrise Gold and Burgundy Red color options; ARCore support

Where can I get the best deal on a Galaxy S9?

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The Galaxy S9 is now available worldwide, both from carriers and also unlocked.

In the U.S., the Galaxy S9 costs between $720 and $800, while the Galaxy S9+ goes for between $870 and $915. For all the details, take a look at our roundup of the best Galaxy S9 deals.

Where to buy the Galaxy S9: Best deals for your new phone

See at Verizon

Getting started with the Galaxy S9

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Once you pick up your new phone, there are a few things you should do immediately. Here’s how to make your GS9 experience great!

The first 9 things to do with your Galaxy S9

The first 5 things to turn off in the Galaxy S9’s software

What’s this about bad battery life with the Exynos processor?

Samsung has regularly used both its own processors and Qualcomm’s latest chips in different markets, and it’s regularly been a point of discussion between enthusiasts as to which one is “better” overall.

In the Galaxy S9 and S9+, there’s a clear differentiation in that the Exynos versions of the phone have been getting much shorter battery life. To make things worse, the Qualcomm models are also outperforming Exynos in many synthetic benchmark tests.

So what can you do? Well, not much — Samsung doesn’t sell both versions of the phones in the same markets, so you can’t exactly cross-shop the two processors. The hope is that Samsung could update the firmware on the Exynos models to improve processor efficiency a bit.

Samsung Galaxy S9 battery problems, explained: Exynos vs. Snapdragon

Help me get started with accessories!

Once you have your Galaxy S9 or S9+, you’ll want to look into accessories like cases and screen protectors that make the phone even better. We’ve rounded up our favorites for you.

The best Galaxy S9 accessories

The best cases for the Galaxy S9

Update, May 16: This guide has been completely revamped to provide everything you need to know about the Galaxy S9 and S9+!

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+

  • Galaxy S9 and S9+: Everything you need to know!
  • Galaxy S9 review: A great phone for the masses
  • Complete Galaxy S9 and S9+ specs
  • Galaxy S9 vs. Galaxy S8: Should you upgrade?
  • Join our Galaxy S9 forums

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