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5
Jun

iOS 12 Beta Lets Apple Music Subscribers Search for Some Songs Using Lyric Phrases


A Reddit user has discovered that the first beta of iOS 12 includes a Music app feature that allows Apple Music subscribers to search for songs using lyric phrases.

As the image below shows, using the search phrase “Loving you isn’t the right thing to do” – the first lines of Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” – successfully returns the relevant song, and quotes the lyrical phrase in the single’s entry in the results.

MacRumors can confirm that the lyric search does work, but seemingly not yet for all songs with lyrics in the Apple Music archive. Several beta testers on Reddit also chimed in to confirm the feature. As Reddit user abrb3192 notes:

It definitely works. Had a line in my head for weeks and no idea where it came from. Searched “6 gear speed” and it brought back the song Strip That Down by Liam Payne. It’s not my cup of tea (the song) but at least I finally have context to the transmission reference.

Assuming the feature makes the final release of iOS 12, Apple Music subscribers should be able to discover songs for which they don’t know the name, but only know a select lyric that they can recall hearing as part of a song.

In Apple Music in iOS 11, scrolling down on the “Now Playing” window brings up an option to show song lyrics on most Apple Music songs. Lyrics are not available for all songs, especially new releases, so that might be the reason for the hit and miss results in the iOS 12 beta.

Related Roundup: iOS 12Tag: Apple Music
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5
Jun

Apple Music Artist Profiles Get Redesign in iOS 12 Beta With Enlarged Portraits and Shuffle All ‘Play’ Button


Apple didn’t touch upon Apple Music at all during its WWDC keynote yesterday, leaving any potential new details about the streaming music service to be discovered by early beta testers of iOS 12. For now, it appears that Apple Music remains largely the same between iOS 11 and iOS 12, but some Redditors have discovered at least one update for artists and their profile pages in the Music app on iPhone.

With the update, artist profiles now have larger images that take up half of the screen on iPhone. Under the image is the artist’s name, accompanied by a new play button. According to users on Reddit, this button shuffles all the songs in the artist’s catalog of music, making it easy to search for a band or singer and simply tap the button to start playing their music. Otherwise, the rest of the page appears normal with Top Songs, Albums, Top Videos, and more that can be discovered as you scroll down.

Apple Music in iOS 11.4 (left) compared to iOS 12 (right, via tynamite on Reddit)
In comparison, Apple Music artist pages on iOS 11 have much smaller artist images. As visible in the comparison image above, for some bands like The Raconteurs it’s easy to see why Apple would want to switch to larger artwork when some artists have most of their images cut off by the current layout.

At the same time, the iPhone X and the notch still negatively affect some artist images even with the new iOS 12 layout (like Rihanna below), so it appears Apple has some more tweaking to do to get this section of Apple Music right.

Apple Music in iOS 11.4 (left) compared to iOS 12 (right, via kevinlim512 on Reddit)
Instead of a play button, Apple Music in iOS 11 currently has an ellipses menu next to the artist’s name with options to Follow on Connect, Create Station, and Share Artist. Creating a radio station is somewhat similar to playing more of the artists music with the new play button, but it crucially diverges from that feature since radio stations also throw in songs from different artists, focusing on the genre/style of the chosen band and not the band itself.

Other images of the new profile pages have surfaced on Reddit, including for Green Day, and it appears that there is currently a slight gradient bug where the artist’s name sits.

Apple Music in iOS 11.4 (left) compared to iOS 12 (right, via brooksdbrewer on Reddit)
As Redditor tynamite explained, in the iOS 12 beta right now if you travel to an artist profile from your own library, a gray box will appear behind the artist’s name. But, “If you search or find an artist through other ways of exploring (eg. “similar artists” option), it doesn’t show the gray background at all.” As such, this is likely a simple UI bug that will be fixed in future beta updates.

There are plenty of other tidbits to discover about iOS 12, including a lyric search feature to discover songs in Apple Music.

Related Roundup: iOS 12
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5
Jun

iOS 12 Allows for Multiple Face ID Users on a Single iPhone X


The iOS 12 beta appears to support adding a second face to the Face ID feature, allowing a second person to unlock an iPhone X without entering the passcode. This was discovered and later confirmed by multiple users on Reddit.

Ever since the iPhone X was released last September, Apple’s Face ID authentication system has been restricted to recognizing a single person’s face to unlock the iPhone X. Though iOS is ostensibly designed as a single-user operating system, this restriction has frustrated some users who wish to allow their partner or other family member to unlock their phone for convenience and sharing purposes.

This is possible under the old Touch ID system, which has been around for nearly half-a-decade, because Touch ID allows up to five fingerprints to unlock the iPhone — so it’s easy to allow your partner’s thumbprint to your iPhone.

With iOS 12, an “Alternative Appearance” mode in Face ID allows iPhone X owners to add an entire second face to Face ID. This means two people can unlock an iPhone X, potentially making it easier for users to share their devices.

The feature doesn’t appear to be intended for this purpose. In iOS Settings > Face ID & Passcode, Alternative Appearance is described thusly:

In addition to continuously learning how you look, Face ID can recognize an alternate appearance.

It’s likely that Alternative Appearance is designed for people who have difficulty with Face ID because of more significant changes in appearance due to changing wardrobes like glasses or hats — but it has the happy coincidence of supporting a second person as well.

One thing to note is that if Face ID is reset for one “Appearance”, it will also reset the other, meaning both users will have to start from scratch with Face ID if the system is reset.

We have reached out to Apple for clarity on what this feature is intended for and whether the side-effect of support for multiple users is expected to continue through the final release of iOS 12 this fall.

Related Roundup: iOS 12
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5
Jun

Craig Federighi Talks Bringing iOS Apps to macOS, Reiterates No Plans for Touchscreen Macs


In a new interview with Wired today, Apple senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi discussed yesterday’s WWDC keynote, particularly touching upon the company’s years-long plan to bring some iOS apps to macOS. In a memorable keynote moment, when Federighi mentioned users constantly asking if Apple would merge iOS and macOS, a giant “No” appeared on screen behind him.

However, the company did detail a plan to take key framework elements from iOS and UIKit and adapt them for macOS, resulting in tools that will let third-party developers easily port iPhone and iPad apps to Mac in 2019. In the interview, Federighi again explained that right now the plan is not to build a single Apple Operating System, but to begin testing out the updated UIKit tools in its own apps for Home, News, Stocks, and Voice Memos, coming in macOS Mojave later this year.

Naturally, when news about iOS apps appearing on macOS emerges, people begin to wonder again about a touchscreen MacBook. Federighi quickly shot down that idea — which has surfaced again and again over the years — by saying he’s “not into touchscreens” on desktop computers, and likely never will be. He also mentioned that Apple doesn’t see touchscreen-enabled laptops as rivals.

“We really feel that the ergonomics of using a Mac are that your hands are rested on a surface, and that lifting your arm up to poke a screen is a pretty fatiguing thing to do,” he said.

Federighi added that he doesn’t think the touchscreen laptops out there today—which he referred to as “experiments”—have been compelling. “I don’t think we’ve looked at any of the other guys to date and said, how fast can we get there?”

Back on the topic of the iOS/macOS update, Federighi said that instead of these tools being emulators, Apple’s plan is building a software framework for iPhone that can be brought over to Mac and “made native” to Mac. Parts of this porting process will be automated, “like turning a long press on iOS into a two-finger click on a Mac,” but extra coding is predicted for UI items like menus and sidebars.

Even though the apps are effectively being shared between operating systems, Federighi emphasized that your Mac won’t start behaving like an iPhone. “It’s still macOS, you still have the Terminal, you can still attach four monitors to it, you can still hook up external drives,” he said.

In terms of potential games to make this leap, Federighi mentioned Epic’s Fortnite as a likely candidate for porting, and he also stated that websites like IMDB, Yelp, and DirecTV could gain native desktop Mac apps. While these websites could have macOS apps now, the current toolset for developers is “just more work,” Wired pointed out, and Apple’s new UIKit update in macOS Mojave should make the process a bit simpler.

It’s not currently clear when the new tools will be ready for third-party developers, but it appears it will take some time as Federighi suggested we will hear more about the project at WWDC 2019.

Tags: Craig Federighi, WWDC 2018
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5
Jun

Apple Maps Now Supports Transit in North Carolina


Apple Maps now supports transit in North Carolina, enabling users to navigate with public transportation in several metropolitan areas across the state.

The largest transit options supported include CATS buses and LYNX trains in the Charlotte area, GoTransit buses in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area, GTA buses in Greensboro, and inter-city PART buses in the Piedmont Triad area.

Apple Maps also appears to support transit directions in a few additional areas of California, including Bakersfield and Fresno, complementing the previously supported areas of Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and others.

The feature can be accessed by tapping the Transit tab or button in Apple Maps on iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple Watch.

Apple Maps has supported transit since 2015, with an initial rollout in Baltimore, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Sydney, Toronto, and China. Since then, Apple has expanded the feature to dozens of additional cities around the world.

Google Maps has also supported navigation via public transportation for several years now, including in the Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro areas, but Apple Maps is slowly catching up with detailed routing info.

In related news, Apple at its WWDC keynote on Monday announced that CarPlay will support Google Maps, Waze, and other third-party navigation apps with a paired iPhone running iOS 12, released in beta yesterday.

(Thanks, Ram!)

Tags: Apple Maps, transit, North Carolina
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5
Jun

OPPO Realme 1 review: Pretty good, really cheap!


Lately, I’ve reviewed, compared, and previewed a whole host of great smartphones at mid-range price points. My conclusion: you can get a heck of a lot these days without needing to pay those flagship prices. But what about when your budget’s even tighter than that?

From OPPO and partner Amazon India, the Realme 1 will only be available online and aims to deliver a great experience at a very modest price point: starting at 8,990 rupees (~$110) up to 13,990 rupees (~$207). That’s significantly cheaper than the initial rumor of 17,990 rupees that we heard, and makes its otherwise modest spec sheet even more impressive.

Read: Oppo Find X teased: Is a real Oppo flagship coming soon?

I’ve got my hands on a more expensive, 6GB Realme 1 review unit, so let’s find out whether a phone this affordable could do everything I need it to over the course of a standard day. Here’s our Realme 1 review!

What may catch the eye of passersby is the interesting polygonal effect on the back of the device.

OPPO Realme 1 review: Design and display

Starting the day with the Realme 1 is nice enough. I tend to spend my first ten minutes of the day sitting up, reading blogs and checking emails, and the screen here is nice and bright with a decent resolution at 2,169 x 1,080, with a pixel density of 403ppi. It’s also plenty large at 6.0 inches, with an 18:9 aspect ratio. I really appreciate having that kind of real estate on a device this cheap. This is still an IPS LCD panel, rather than an OLED, and the screen feels a little cheap sometimes. I found my finger would drag when swiping, which wasn’t great.

Realme 1 screen

For my next port of call, I’ll usually make breakfast and a packed lunch while watching YouTube. This is a single speaker affair, but it’s loud enough and certainly better than a lot of the competition.

Then I’m off and out, first to drop my wife at work — with Google Maps doing just fine as my GPS and letting me know which traffic jams to avoid — and then to set up shop in a cafe somewhere to get a spot of work done.

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What may catch the eye of passersby is the interesting polygonal effect on the back of the device. This subtle pattern is visible only when it catches the light the right way, but it gives the Realme 1 a bit of unique personality. It looks considerably more impressive in press photos than in reality, and to be honest you could achieve the same effect quite easily with a decal, but hey, it’s better than nothing. This is definitely preferable to the bland appearance of most budget phones.

OPPO Realme 1 Review

During use, the Realme 1’s price is most apparent in the build quality. This device feels pretty cheap and hollow due to the mostly plastic body. It’s incredibly light in the way that might lead to someone mistaking it for a toy phone at first. It also has a very by the numbers design on the front. As you’d probably expect, there’s no IP rating either. The phone doesn’t feel the most durable — I’d consider getting a case.

The buttons are a very mushy and plastic-feeling.

The buttons are a very mushy and plastic-feeling. They’re also arranged strangely; the volume rocker is split into two separate buttons (which is annoying) on the left, which to me feels like definitely the wrong side. This obviously isn’t a deal breaker for a lot of people, but takes some of the sheen off of using a new phone.

I said in the hands-on that I would have liked if OPPO went for the notch device it originally showed in early images. That went down like a sack of shit with a lot of you guys, but I stand by it — not because I like the notch, but just because it would have been something interesting and a little more flagshippy for the front of this otherwise very dull device.

OPPO Realme 1 review: Performance

Before I get stuck into work, I often begin my day by calling my mum, my sister, or my pilot buddy Nathan who likewise is available during the working week. The Realme 1 serves its purpose as a phone, with decent call quality and no issues there.

For those very important people, there is also a dual SIM slot. I know a lot of buyers really appreciate that. It’s not a hybrid slot either — you’ll be able to add an SD card and an additional SIM.

From there, it’s on to work. These days, I actually use my smartphone quite a lot during a typical working day. I use it for workflow program and communication apps like Slack and Asana, checking emails, and responding to YouTube comments.

Realme 1 working

Obviously, with its Helio P60, this isn’t the most powerful device around. It’s actually more than enough for the vast majority of tasks, helped by the pretty hefty 3 to 6GB of RAM. 6GB is actually really generous at this price point. The Honor 10 — which I praised for having a lot of bang for your buck — only includes 4GB in the U.K. model and costs 399 pounds. Switching between apps is breezy, navigating the UI is nippy, and even multitasking works just fine — made easier thanks to the larger screen.

Read: These are the best dating apps in India

The phone also packs in the Mali G72 MP3 GPU, which is hardly a high-end gaming chip, but should be able to handle most games from the Play Store with little trouble. This is the reality of Android gaming: these days most chipsets can handle most games. The argument for spending more for more powerful hardware is becoming increasingly difficult to defend.

There are some scenarios where a little more power would’ve gone a long way, but they’re fairly specialized.

I decided to give Google Cardboard a go on my lunch break and found it painfully slow and sluggish, to the point of being nauseating. So there are some scenarios where a little more power would’ve gone a long way, but they’re fairly specialized.

Realme 1 cafe

The Helio P60 is a particularly notable inclusion because it comes with a built-in neural processing unit (NPU), which brings some AI-type features. Unlocking the Realme 1 is very fast, thanks to the very effective face detection. Apparently, the reaction time is 0.1 seconds, which I can believe based on my usage.

The only big bummer is the lack of a fingerprint sensor. That means I have to use a password on PayPal like a schmuck.

Realme 1 Oreo

I don’t love this phone’s UI. It’s got Android 8.1 Oreo – good – and Color OS UI on top – bad. As usual though, any cosmetic imperfections can be eradicated with a fresh launcher.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a buttery-smooth performer, but it didn’t stop me doing anything that I wanted to do. That’s pretty remarkable really for the price. Storage is 32, 64, or 128GB with expandable storage up to 256GB via an additional SD card slot.

OPPO Realme 1 review: Camera

Moving on with this day-in-the-life Realme 1 review, in the evening, I will typically hit the gym. This is when the camera becomes an important feature for me, as I will typically use the selfie-shooter to capture my workouts and share on Instagram. I have no shame. For me, a bad selfie-camera is a deal breaker.

Realme 1 camera

The camera on the front has an 8MP sensor. That’s not a bad showing — nothing to write home about but not bad. It can record at 1080p 30fps (as can the rear). There’s no optical stabilization, but it produces just fine videos and images.

For capturing antics in the evening, the rear camera is also serviceable. It’s a single lens setup — which these days actually bucks the trend — but at 13MP it should be capable of capturing some decent detail. The aperture is quite narrow at f/2.2 and photos are distinctly average. There are some fun features here though, including the compulsory portrait mode (and some dubious beauty modes) and even a pro mode!

Realme 1 camera app

Low light performance is definitely sub-par, and there are occasions where photos look washed out or soft. If you live on social media, you may want something a little beefier in this regard. Outside of that, its certainly capable of handling most everyday requirements, and it’s definitely better than it has any right to be.

OPPO Realme 1 review: Final Thoughts

By the end of the day, the 3,410mAh battery still had some juice left in it. With more than five hours screen-on time and a very impressive idle life, it’s actually got some longevity under its belt, too. Apparently we can thank the AI features for this to some extent, as they help with smarter battery management.

It’s hard to imagine how OPPO and Amazon are making any money at all from this one.

Come evening, I was forced to dig for a MicroUSB cable when I needed to plug in — another reminder of the phone’s budget nature. It’s also no surprise there’s no wireless charging here, nor any official quick charging functionality — though I found it powered up at a fairly satisfactory speed nonetheless (around 2 hours to a full charge).

Realme 1 microUSB

For 13,990 rupees, this phone lets me work, game, and take some decent photos. It has a unique appearance, and even a little AI magic thrown in for good measure. That’s a very compelling offer. It’s hard to imagine how OPPO and Amazon are making any money at all from this one.

The plastic build, lack of modern features, middling processor, and average camera mean this was never destined to be the must-have device of 2018. It’s pointless to compare this to current flagships, but it fairs well against other devices in its price category. It actually offers more bang for your buck than a lot of similarly positioned Xiaomi devices, and certainly beats the new line of lower end Nokias we recently covered. That said, those devices also have significantly nicer builds than this, and the Nokia phones have Android One, too. When going budget, it’s always up to you which compromises are important.

Realme 1 review

This feels quite cheap. If you’re willing to cover the cheap feel with a sturdy case, this is also a fantastic option on a budget.

Read next: Best Android phones for under 15,000 rupees

Still, I’ll be glad to go back to my Galaxy S8 Plus, though.

There you have it for our OPPO Realme 1 review! What do you think about this phone? Let us know in the comments.

5
Jun

Meet the man fighting plastic pollution with a fleet of AI-powered camera drones


That plastic cup you’ve got sitting on your desk looks pretty harmless on its own. However, add it to the rest of the plastic that humanity throws away on a daily basis and you have the makings of the estimated 5 to 13 million metric tons of plastic trash which reportedly wind up in the world’s oceans every year. U.K.-based Plastic Tide founder Peter Kohler got a glimpse of the scale of this problem a decade ago — and it changed the course of his life.

Plastic Tide founder, Peter Kohler

“About ten years ago, I went out to the South Pacific,” he told Digital Trends. “I’ve always been fascinated by oceans, and this was pure paradise. But it was a paradise under siege. One of the most visible ways this paradise was being besieged was with litter. It was everywhere, although we were miles from anyone. When you’re sailing in the middle of nowhere, it really gets you wondering where this litter comes from and how it gets here. I came back to England and spent the next few years puzzling over how best to answer that question.”

Kohler’s questions led to answers, but not necessarily the kind that he wanted. One of the tidbits he discovered was that, not only do we have a huge marine littering problem, we don’t know where most of it comes from. Simply put, when plastics are dumped in the water they are quickly lost track of, making it hard to hold people accountable.

Photos are used to train an A.I. algorithm to recognize images of plastic trash.

But he has a solution — and it involves some pretty impressive cutting edge technology. “Plastic Tide aims to use tech, machine learning and citizen science to build a scalable local and global monitoring solution to this problem of marine litter,” he told Digital Trends.

The idea, in essence, is to use drone-mounted cameras to take thousands of aerial photos. These photos are then used to train an A.I. algorithm to recognize images of plastic trash to distinguish, say, a plastic bag from a jellyfish or a bottle cap from a seashell. A bit like the Captcha systems online that ask you to prove your humanness by decoding a squiggly row of letters or numbers, conscientious users can log on to the nonprofit’s website and help to tag artificial flotsam and jetsam.

“In the short term, this can be used to help with cleanup events by making us aware of the worst-impacted areas for humans, marine life and bird life,” Kohler continued. Just like the Captcha system, though, when you answer these questions correctly, you’re also helping to make the image recognition algorithms smarter so that they will one day be able to carry out this classification on their own. That will enable Plastic Tide to move onto the next stage of its goal: building a comprehensive system which can chronicle the spread of plastics in something much closer to real time. Instead of just looking at coastlines, Kohler said that this could “include coastal, sea surface, seafloor, rivers, and maybe even one day roads and railways. Everything that connects to the sea, basically.”

Being able to track the spread of plastic in this way will help with everything from discovering which companies are responsible for particularly egregious littering to visualizing the direct link between environmental policies and their impact on the world. “For example, here in the U.K. the government has banned plastic bags,” he said. “We can then see what that actually does to the amount of plastic on the coastline.”

However, there’s another part to the project — and i‹t’s one which also needs your help. In order to spot plastic in images, Plastic Tide needs images to spot plastic in. These are taken using drone-mounted cameras, snapped by a growing army of helpful volunteers. “Pretty quickly I started getting emails from people around the world asking how they could contribute images to help train the machine learning system,” Kohler said. “It became so big that I founded the Marine Litter DRONET to coordinate these efforts. It’s a mix of everyone from concerned individuals all the way up to research institutions and companies.” This aspect of the initiative has attracted some keen enthusiasts, such as 72-year-old Morris Enyeart, who has so far contributed upwards of 7,000 images.

“Plastics aren’t bad; it’s our misuse of them which is often bad.”

Kohler makes sure to stress that “plastics aren’t bad; it’s our misuse of them which is often bad.” Nonetheless, this is an area which desperately needs attention — and since it affects us all, it’s only right we all lend a hand where possible.

“We’re always happy to have people get involved,” he said. “They can volunteer to tag plastic by logging onto our website and clicking the button on the landing page. If they want to join the Marine Litter DRONET, they should send us a message. Plus, get involved with your beach cleaning efforts. That’s a great way of making you aware of the impact of everything that you throw away.”

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5
Jun

Microsoft Office 365 apps will hit the revamped Mac App Store later this year


As part of Apple’s announcement regarding MacOS Mojave, the revamped App Store, and support for the UIKit development framework used for iOS apps, the company has announced that Microsoft will be bringing Office 365 to the App Store on Mac later this year. These apps will be in addition to the Office 365 desktop programs you can already download and install on any Mac device. They will be joined by Adobe Lightroom CC, BBEdit from Bare Bones software, and Panic’s Transmit.

The news arrives by way of Apple’s product marketing manager for the Mac App Store, who claims that developers are excited over the App Store overhaul. In addition to Adobe, Bare Bones, and Panic, other names briefly flashed during the presentation included Serif, Bloom, Feral, Corel, Aspyr, Black Magic Design, Intua, and Houseparty. 

The excitement over the upcoming App Store revamp is well-earned. Launched in 2011, the current version isn’t exactly horrible, providing a Featured page, a Top Charts page, and a Categories page throwing apps into groups such as Business, Photography, Games, Productivity, and so on. You can access the pages via icons listed along the top along with pages listing your Purchased apps and the Updates section. 

But Apple looked closely at how customers used their Macs and decided to rebuild the App Store from the ground up. The example that was shown on-stage relied on the upcoming Dark Mode in MacOS Mojave and looked stunning. Instead of an icon-based toolbar strung along the top, you’ll see a menu riding down the left side of the App Store presenting tabs for Discover, Create, Work, Play, Develop, Categories, and Updates. 

That said, Apple pushed to bring the streamlined iOS experience over to MacOS, such as implementing a new user interface, video previews, app rankings, placing ratings and reviews front and center, and more. Apple also created a better method of leaving ratings and reviews to make feedback even easier for Mac owners. 

Currently Microsoft only provides five apps on the Mac App Store: Remote Desktop, OneDrive, OneNote, Band Sync, and RMS Sharing. That number pales in comparison to the huge library Microsoft serves up on iOS: Over 20 including its individual Office-based apps, Microsoft Edge, OneDrive, Xbox, Mixer, Skype, and more.  

Microsoft’s slim selection of apps on MacOS paints the current state of the Mac App Store. You won’t find the likes of Facebook, Netflix, Hulu, and Twitter, the latter of which pulled its app from the MacOS app store in favor of Mac owners getting the “full” experience using a web browser. Meanwhile, you’ll still find Twitter’s app on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch alongside Facebook, Netflix, and Hulu. 

With the arrival of UIKit support in MacOS, developers won’t be required to create two separate apps for two separate platforms. Right now, Apple is supposedly keeping this feature all to itself to convert its in-house apps. UIKit support will go live for developers in 2019 although Microsoft may already have access to provide a premium Office app experience later this year. 

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5
Jun

Microsoft Office 365 apps will hit the revamped Mac App Store later this year


As part of Apple’s announcement regarding MacOS Mojave, the revamped App Store, and support for the UIKit development framework used for iOS apps, the company has announced that Microsoft will be bringing Office 365 to the App Store on Mac later this year. These apps will be in addition to the Office 365 desktop programs you can already download and install on any Mac device. They will be joined by Adobe Lightroom CC, BBEdit from Bare Bones software, and Panic’s Transmit.

The news arrives by way of Apple’s product marketing manager for the Mac App Store, who claims that developers are excited over the App Store overhaul. In addition to Adobe, Bare Bones, and Panic, other names briefly flashed during the presentation included Serif, Bloom, Feral, Corel, Aspyr, Black Magic Design, Intua, and Houseparty. 

The excitement over the upcoming App Store revamp is well-earned. Launched in 2011, the current version isn’t exactly horrible, providing a Featured page, a Top Charts page, and a Categories page throwing apps into groups such as Business, Photography, Games, Productivity, and so on. You can access the pages via icons listed along the top along with pages listing your Purchased apps and the Updates section. 

But Apple looked closely at how customers used their Macs and decided to rebuild the App Store from the ground up. The example that was shown on-stage relied on the upcoming Dark Mode in MacOS Mojave and looked stunning. Instead of an icon-based toolbar strung along the top, you’ll see a menu riding down the left side of the App Store presenting tabs for Discover, Create, Work, Play, Develop, Categories, and Updates. 

That said, Apple pushed to bring the streamlined iOS experience over to MacOS, such as implementing a new user interface, video previews, app rankings, placing ratings and reviews front and center, and more. Apple also created a better method of leaving ratings and reviews to make feedback even easier for Mac owners. 

Currently Microsoft only provides five apps on the Mac App Store: Remote Desktop, OneDrive, OneNote, Band Sync, and RMS Sharing. That number pales in comparison to the huge library Microsoft serves up on iOS: Over 20 including its individual Office-based apps, Microsoft Edge, OneDrive, Xbox, Mixer, Skype, and more.  

Microsoft’s slim selection of apps on MacOS paints the current state of the Mac App Store. You won’t find the likes of Facebook, Netflix, Hulu, and Twitter, the latter of which pulled its app from the MacOS app store in favor of Mac owners getting the “full” experience using a web browser. Meanwhile, you’ll still find Twitter’s app on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch alongside Facebook, Netflix, and Hulu. 

With the arrival of UIKit support in MacOS, developers won’t be required to create two separate apps for two separate platforms. Right now, Apple is supposedly keeping this feature all to itself to convert its in-house apps. UIKit support will go live for developers in 2019 although Microsoft may already have access to provide a premium Office app experience later this year. 

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5
Jun

LG V35 ThinQ vs. HTC U12 Plus: Which big beauty should you buy?


Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

It’s worth noting that Apple and Samsung are not the only smartphone makers turning out great devices. LG and HTC have been making great Android phones for years and years — and they deserve some attention. If you’re in the market for a powerful, big smartphone packed with innovative features, then the LG V35 ThinQ and the HTC U12 Plus should both be on your radar. The question is — which phone is better? We decided to put the two devices head-to-head to find out.

Specs

LG V35 ThinQ
HTC U12 Plus

Size
151.6 x 75.4 x 7.3mm (5.97 x 2.97 x 0.29 inches)
156.6 x 73.9 x 8.7 mm (6.16 x 2.9 x 0.34 inches)

Weight
158 grams (5.57 ounces)
188 grams (6.63 ounces)

Screen size
6-inch OLED
6-inch Super LCD

Screen resolution
2,880 x 1,440 pixels (538 pixels-per-inch)
2,880 x 1,440 pixels (538 pixels per inch)

Operating system
Android 8.0 Oreo
Android 8.0 Oreo

Storage space
64GB
64GB, 128GB

MicroSD card slot
Yes, up to 2TB
Yes

Tap-to-pay services
Google Pay
Google Pay

Processor
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845

RAM
6GB
6GB

Camera
Dual 16MP (with OIS) and 16MP wide angle rear, 8MP front
Dual 12MP and 16MP telephoto rear (both with OIS), dual 8MP lenses front

Video
 Up to 4K at 30 fps, 1080p at 30 fps, 720p at 240 fps, HDR10
Up to 4K at 60 frames per second, 1080p at 240 fps

Bluetooth version
Bluetooth 5.0
Bluetooth 5.0

Ports
3.5mm headphone jack, USB-Type C
USB-Type C

Fingerprint sensor
Yes (back)
Yes (back)

Water resistance
IP68
IP68

Battery
3,300mAh

Fast charging (Quick Charge 3.0)

Qi wireless charging

3,500mAh

Fast charging (Quick Charge 3.0, QC 4.0 with adapter, not included)

 

App marketplace
Google Play Store
Google Play Store

Network support
AT&T, Project Fi
T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon

Colors
Aurora Black, Platinum Gray
Translucent Blue, Ceramic Black, Flame Red

Price
$900
$800

Buy from
 AT&T, Project Fi

HTC, Amazon

Review score
 Hands-on review

Hands-on review

Performance, battery life, and charging

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The standard flagship combination for 2018 is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 processor backed by 6GB of RAM — and that’s precisely what both of these phones have inside. You can expect speedy, slick performance and the ability to multitask gracefully. Both come with 64GB of storage and have MicroSD card slots for expansion. You can also get the U12 Plus with 128GB of internal storage.

In terms of battery life, the U12 Plus has the edge on paper with an extra 200mAh over the 3,300mAh battery in the LG V35 ThinQ, but we’re not sure that will make a big difference in every day se. They both support Quick Charge 3.0 out of the box, but the U12 Plus can also support the slightly faster Quick Charge 4.0 standard, though it will require you to buy a compatible charger separately.

The LG V35 ThinQ scores some points back here with support for Qi wireless charging, which is sadly lacking in the HTC U12 Plus. This is a very tight category, but we’re giving the V35 ThinQ the win for the wireless charging support.

Winner: LG V35 ThinQ

Design and durability

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The LG V35 ThinQ is almost identical to the LG V30 in terms of design, which means it’s a good-looking device. There are slim bezels above and below the large screen, with no notch in sight. Rounded corners and curved aluminum edges give way to a glass back. The dual-lens camera has a fingerprint sensor below it. It’s a surprisingly light phone, but it’s big, so it’s not the easiest to manage one-handed.

The HTC U12 Plus is very similar in size, slightly taller and thicker but not quite as wide. It also has a horizontally arranged dual-lens camera on the back, with fingerprint sensor below and an all-screen front with bezels top and bottom, though they’re a bit bigger than LG’s bezels. It’s a heavier phone, but that actually lends it a more expensive feel. HTC offers some innovation here with a complete lack of mechanical buttons, instead relying on touch-sensitive buttons and the squeezable edges for operation.

In terms of looks, we prefer HTC’s eye-catching, liquid glass finish, with the translucent blue model being an interesting option. The V35 ThinQ looks conservative by comparison, but that will suit some people better.

Both phones are IP68 rated, so there’s no need to panic about short dunks into water or being caught in the rain. Because of the glass sandwich designs, we strongly advise cases for both of these phones.

Winner: HTC U12 Plus

Display

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

With 6-inch screens, these smartphones are among the largest on the market. Both the V35 ThinQ and the U12 Plus sports resolutions of 2,880 x 1,440 pixels. They both have an 18:9 aspect ratio and a pixel density of 538 pixels per inch. They’re both sharp and a pleasure to read on, but LG has a slight edge. The OLED screen in the V35 ThinQ offers much better contrast and we prefer it to the Super LCD in the U12 Plus. LG has also managed to achieve a slightly higher screen-to-body ratio, which makes the large screen just a touch more manageable.

Winner: LG V35 ThinQ

Camera

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The dual camera is very much here to stay, and LG and HTC have embraced the trend. The V35 ThinQ pairs two 16-megapixel lens, one with an f/1.6 aperture and optical image stabilization and the other a wide-angle lens with an f/1.9 aperture. The U12 Plus has a 12-megapixel standard lens with an f/1.75 aperture, as well as a 16-megapixel telephoto lens with an f/2.6 aperture.

Low-light photography is a weakness for the V35 ThinQ, though there is a Super Bright Camera mode, and we love the versatility of the wide angle lens. The U12 Plus boasts a superb camera that justifies the early plaudits. We know that HTC is capable of delivering strong photography, and the single-lens U11 camera impressed us last year, so it’s exciting to see what the Taiwanese manufacturer can do with a dual-lens setup.

HTC has also chosen to go with a dual setup on the front, pairing two 8-megapixel cameras with f/2.0 apertures for great portrait selfies with blurred backgrounds. The V35 ThinQ has a single 8-megapixel camera on the front with an f/1.9 aperture.

LG has stirred some A.I. smarts into the mix, but the AI Cam has failed to impress us so far. The V in the V35 stands for video, so there are some interesting modes you can try out to help make your home movies a bit more arresting. However, in terms of the upper limits, the U12 Plus is actually more capable, because it can capture 4K at up to 60 frames per second or 1080p at 240 fps, while the V35 is limited to 30fps and 60fps respectively.

Winner: HTC U12 Plus

Software and updates

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Both phones run Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box, with manufacturer skins over the top. They will both get upgraded to Android P, but beyond that, it’s hard to say when. Both manufacturers have done fairly well with Oreo rollouts, so we don’t really know which will deliver the freshest flavor of Android first.

We prefer HTC’s user interface, though the U12 Plus does have some bloatware onboard. The V35 ThinQ has some special Google Assistant commands, but we’re not keen on the look of the skin, and there’s some bloatware there too.

Winner: HTC U12 Plus

Special features

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The ThinQ part of the V35 name means that your smartphone can double as a smart home controller, provided you have a bunch of ThinQ-branded LG devices. For some people, the inclusion of a 3.5mm headphone jack with a Quad DAC in the V35 will score as a special feature, especially since the U12 Plus doesn’t have one. There’s also the A.I. smarts in the camera and the video modes that we highlighted in the camera section, not to mention Google Lens integration in the camera app.

HTC won’t be outdone in the special features department, adding new gestures to Edge Sense which allows you to squeeze your phone to snap a photo, trigger Google Assistant, or something else you decide upon. With a new double tap option, it’s more versatile than ever, and the touch-sensitive buttons feel like another step toward a completely button-free phone. The powerful camera also has a few tricks up its sleeve, such as Sonic Zoom, which boosts the audio for any subject you zoom in on when shooting video.

Winner: Tie

Price

The HTC U12 Plus costs $800 (add $50 for the 128GB model) and you can buy one direct from HTC or on Amazon. It’s certified to work on AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile.

You can get the LG  V35 ThinQ exclusively on AT&T and Google’s Project Fi, but it costs $900.

Overall winner: HTC U12 Plus

There really isn’t a big gap here. The LG V35 ThinQ has a superior display, a refined design, and an impressive set of features, but it doesn’t do enough to justify the extra cost. The U12 Plus boasts an excellent camera, just as much power under the hood, and plenty of tempting features of its own. We like both phones, but the HTC U12 Plus narrowly ekes out the win.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • LG V35 ThinQ vs. LG V30: Is the newer model worth the extra cash?
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  • HTC U12 Plus vs. HTC U11: Is it time to upgrade?
  • LG G7 ThinQ vs. Google Pixel 2 XL: A brains-versus-brawn comparison
  • OnePlus 6 vs. LG G7 ThinQ: Can the flagship killer sink LG’s latest?


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