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7
Aug

Instapaper Relaunches Premium Subscription at $2.99/Month, Updates Privacy Policy to Comply With GDPR


Read-it-later app Instapaper today announced that it is relaunching “Instapaper Premium” as part of the company’s new initiative that’s looking towards “the next ten years of Instapaper and beyond.” Instapaper is hoping to generate revenue after it became an independent company last month through a deal with parent company Pinterest.

Instapaper Premium costs $2.99/month or $29.99/year and offers full text search for all articles, unlimited notes, text-to-speech playlists on mobile, speed reading, an ad-free website, and a “send to kindle” feature. The company ensures that there will still be a non-Premium version of Instapaper and these users “will continue with a standard free account without access to Premium features.”

In addition to getting access to Premium features, your Instapaper Premium subscription will help ensure that we can continue developing and operating Instapaper. Our goal is to build a long-term sustainable product and business, without venture capital, and we need your help to achieve that goal.

In addition to the subscription news, the company announced that it is bringing Instapaper back to users in the European Union. Just over two months ago, Instapaper temporarily suspended user access to its service across Europe as it faced issues implementing the EU’s GDPR laws.

Over the summer Instapaper took “a number of actions” to address the GDPR and will now return for users in the EU with a newly updated privacy policy that includes the rights afforded to EU users under GDPR. The company is also offering six months of Instapaper Premium to all EU users affected by the outage.

Those interested can sign up for Instapaper Premium on the company’s website.

Tag: Instapaper
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7
Aug

Apple Music Rolling Out ‘Friends Mix’ Highlighting Songs Your Friends Listened To Each Week


Apple Music appears to be rolling out an all-new weekly playlist called “Friends Mix” to a few subscribers today. According to Reddit user Reesyy, the new curated playlist will be filled with songs that your Apple Music friends are listening to.

In order to keep track of which friend listened to each song, the playlist will include a profile picture on the songs as well. Friends Mix will update on Monday every week and include 25 tracks in each update, similar to the other Apple Music weekly playlists.

Image via Redditor Reesyy
Friends Mix is making new use out of the social features that Apple debuted in iOS 11 last year, which lets users build their own Apple Music profiles and show friends the playlists and albums that they’re listening to. This information is then displayed on a playlist or album’s information page and within the “Friends Are Listening To” section in For You, and now it’ll also be used to fill up the new Friends Mix.

Friends Mix is joining Favorites Mix (which updates on Tuesdays), New Music Mix (Fridays), and Chill Mix (Sundays) as the fourth Apple Music weekly playlist. Apple originally launched versions of New Music Mix and Favorites Mix in the iOS 10 public beta in September 2016, followed by Chill mix in June 2017, so it’s been well over a year since we’ve seen a new weekly playlist debut.

Like the other playlists, you’ll be able to find Friends Mix sitting atop the “For You” tab in Apple Music. It’s unclear on which version of iOS Apple is rolling out the playlist, but the poster on Reddit does reference being on the iOS 12 public beta.

Otherwise, Apple Music isn’t getting much of an overhaul in iOS 12, which is expected to launch in September. Subscribers will notice updated artist profiles with larger portraits on the iOS app, and Apple has already opened up a new “Coming Soon” section for users on iOS 11 as well.

Tag: Apple Music
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7
Aug

Moto G6 vs Nokia 7 Plus vs Honor 7X camera shootout


The best camera we can own is the one that performs superbly when we need it most. Often, this can be in a situation that demands speed, and not one that’s all about composition, art, and attention to detail. We want the best results possible, in the easiest way imaginable, without having to mess around. After all, a smartphone is supposed to be user friendly and convenient, so why can’t the same be asked of the camera?

Motorola wanted to demonstrate how fast and effective the new Moto G6’s camera is, so it invited us along to — where else — a race track in the U.K. to prove it. Except we didn’t turn up with just our racing booties and a Moto G6. We brought the Nokia 7 Plus and the Honor 7X along for the ride. All three of these phones cost half that of even the cheapest flagship phone, and represent great value for money, but how do the cameras perform in a situation that demands speed? Let’s take a look.

Camera tech

How do the cameras compare on paper? The $250 Moto G6 has an f/1.8 aperture, dual-lens rear camera with 12-megapixel and 5-megapixel sensors. The video camera shoots at 1080p, and there are various special modes including Spot Color, a Cutout mode, and Portrait Mode, plus an 8-megapixel selfie camera. It’s worth noting the Moto G6 and the Moto G6 Plus share the same camera specifications, so the results here should be comparable.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The 300 British pound/$390 Nokia 7 Plus has a 12 megapixel, f/1.75 aperture main lens and a second 13-megapixel, f/2.6 aperture lens. Both have Zeiss optics, and the camera has a portrait-style mode called Live Bokeh, as well as the cool Bothie mode that takes a photo with the front and rear camera simultaneously. The selfie camera packs 16 megapixels, and the video mode is enhanced with Nokia’s Ozo triple microphone array. This phone is sadly not available in the U.S. yet.

Finally, the Honor 7X is the oldest phone here, having been released late last year, but it’s still a great device with a strong camera, especially for just $200. The rear camera has two lenses — a 16 megapixel, f/2.2 aperture sensor, and a 2-megapixel, f/2.9 aperture sensor — and although the specs can’t quite match the other two here, the app has plenty of features including portrait and bokeh modes.

Speed test

Speed is of the essence on an “experience day,” like the one we attended. There isn’t much time for taking photos, so you just want to get on with it when the time comes. However, if the picture ends up being rubbish, it’ll be time wasted and moments missed. The camera app is an important part of this process.

  • 1.
    Moto G6
  • 2.
    Nokia 7 Plus
  • 3.
    Honor 7X

The Moto G6’s camera app is very simple, and it really is the fastest here. There are three buttons for the stills, video, and options menu above the shutter release. In the menu you tap the option you want, then hit the stills camera button to return to normal. It doesn’t always make sense though, as the Manual mode is not under the options menu, but in a separate button along the top of the display. We love the helpful shortcut that lets you shake the phone to quickly open the camera app from the lock screen, which secured its win.

The Nokia 7 Plus’ app is also simple, with a few options hidden under the menu button in the top left of the screen. The Nokia has a 2x lossless zoom feature, which the Moto G6 and 7X don’t have. The Honor 7X has the most complex and feature rich camera app. Slide the screen left or right to show all the options, and there’s quick access to portrait and aperture modes along the top of the screen.

The Nokia 7 Plus was more stable, but slower to open than the Moto G6. Finally, due to its complexity, the Honor 7X needs you to be familiar with how to use the camera ahead of time to get the best from it, but once you are, it’s a powerful companion.

Winner: Moto G6

Renault Clio Cup Racers

Bedford Autodrome is the home of Palmer Sport, and we were there to drive the company’s Renault Clio Cup Racer, and an F3000 single-seat racing car. The brightly colored Clio’s were up first, and we took two pictures of the cars, one as a two-shot and another of the grid with the garages in the background.

  • 1.
    Moto G6
  • 2.
    Nokia 7 Plus
  • 3.
    Honor 7X

Six very different photos are produced. The Moto G6 is the only phone that automatically activated HDR, and it really shows in both images. In the shot of the two cars, you can see more detail in the wheel arches and the front valance, and while the sky isn’t so richly blue as the Nokia’s photo, it’s a beautiful picture. The Honor 7X washes out the yellow cars too much, and you can’t see much in the shadow of the garages in the second picture either.

In the Moto G6’s HDR-enhanced photo you can clearly see into the back of the garage and make out stacks of tires. This is at the expense of some realism in the track surface’s color, and a blue sky that’s too light. We don’t like the almost purple sky in either of the Honor 7X’s photos.

  • 1.
    Moto G6
  • 2.
    Nokia 7 Plus
  • 3.
    Honor 7X

The Nokia 7 Plus produces the photos with the best balance. The sky and the track surface look like they did on the day, and there’s enough detail in the garages to show what’s there. Best of all, the colorful livery on the cars is well separated, and the yellow pops in the image.

Winner: Nokia 7 Plus

Race car mirror

This is a bokeh mode test, and again the results are really different, emphasizing how important reliability is in many situations where we use our phones as cameras. The Nokia 7 Plus still has some problems with its Live Bokeh mode. Here, it actually focused on the car’s seats and not the mirror, despite giving us a “Depth Success” message at the time. It’s a perfect example of the camera not giving us the picture we wanted, in a situation that we’re unable to replicate, and it’s a shame because the photo is excellent otherwise.

  • 1.
    Moto G6
  • 2.
    Nokia 7 Plus
  • 3.
    Honor 7X

With the Nokia out of the running, it’s down to the Moto G6 and the Honor 7X. The Motorola phone really focuses in on the mirror, blurring out the background almost entirely, including the mirror’s actual support. The Honor 7X does it much better. You can still read the Palmer Sport logo on the side of the car, and there are details on top of the mirror itself almost missing from the Moto G6’s picture.

Winner: Honor 7X

Blue race car

Another two photos of the same subject, from different angles. The cockpit is shot facing the bright sunlight outside the window, while the entire car is taken with the sun behind us.

  • 1.
    Moto G6
  • 2.
    Nokia 7 Plus
  • 3.
    Honor 7X

Let’s begin with the Nokia. Once more, it fails to capture the photo we expected. The background is more in focus, along with the tire sidewalls, than the instrument cluster at the center of the image. In all these photos, we tapped the same section for focus and exposure, and it’s a surprise to see it like this.

The Moto G6 and the Honor 7X both managed to focus on the car’s interior, but both struggled with the challenging light. The roll bar in the Honor 7X’s photo is jet black, but almost grey in the G6’s, while the interior in the photo is considerably clearer and more detailed. Similarly, the tire sidewalls are also detailed, but the area by the door in the top right is overexposed and washed out. Neither picture is great, so this one is a tie.

How about the photo of the car itself, can it break the tie?

  • 1.
    Moto G6
  • 2.
    Nokia 7 Plus
  • 3.
    Honor 7X

The Nokia 7 Plus still has problems knowing where to focus, and there is some blur in the photo around the edges. The Moto G6 handles the color and contrast in a similar way to the Nokia 7 Plus, and produces a sharper more pleasing photo. The Honor 7X actually takes the sharpest photo out of the three, and we prefer the shade of blue in its photo too. This gives it the win here.

Winner: Honor 7X

F3000 garage

This is a much closer race (sorry), and it’s the Honor 7X that loses out first due to the reds becoming more pink that they were in reality. The Nokia and the Moto G6 are very close, and it’s almost impossible to pick between them.

  • 1.
    Moto G6
  • 2.
    Nokia 7 Plus
  • 3.
    Honor 7X

However, the deeper you look into the Nokia’s photo the sharper the details are. Despite this, the Moto G6’s photo is still one we’d be very happy with, as it captured the regimented line-up of the cars in a visually-interesting way. Forced to pick a winner, we’d go for the Nokia.

Winner: Nokia 7 Plus

Portrait Mode

Who wouldn’t want a celebratory selfie after a day of being a racing driver? Using portrait mode all three cope in different ways with the bright background and the challenge of isolating the helmet and the face. The Honor 7X very effectively blurs the background around the helmet, and keeps the color and brightness balance just right for the subject’s face. The background is slightly overexposed, but the racing car in the background is still visible, giving the scene further context.

  • 1.
    Moto G6
  • 2.
    Nokia 7 Plus
  • 3.
    Honor 7X

The environment is even more clear in the Moto G6’s photo, and the color balance is beautiful. Just look at the red car and the blue sky against the black race suit. It’s a shame the portrait effect took away the edge of the visor; but we think this may be because the subject’s angle is different to the Honor 7X’s photo.

The Nokia 7 Plus is somewhere in-between. The background is overexposed, but the racing car is red and obvious in the photo, while the portrait mode isolates the helmet well. However, because the background is overexposed, detail is lost around the left-hand side of the helmet. The race suit is also quite grey. It’s probably slightly more realistic, but the Moto G6’s photo, even with the less effective edge blur, is the one we’d want to share.

Winner: Moto G6

Video performance

We also shot some quick panning videos showing the cars going round the track with each device, and also shot our main video above on the Moto G6.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Nokia easily beat the Honor 7X and the Moto G6 here, with a smoother, steadier, and more detailed video. However, it was the audio that really surprised. The Nokia 7 Plus has three microphones with special tuning, and the performance was superb, giving the scene real emotion. It was far more representative of the car’s sound.

Winner: Nokia 7 Plus

Conclusion

The Nokia 7 Plus won three categories, while the Moto G6 and the Honor 7X took two. While this technically gives the Nokia 7 Plus the overall win, the photo categories it lost were failures, which is much worse than producing a less impressive shot. We noted problems with the bokeh mode in our review, and no software update has arrived to cure this between then and now, and this test shows how photos can be ruined by such issues. It’s impossible to recommend a phone that may let you down when you need it most.

The surprise here is the Honor 7X, which not only took two categories, but also came very close to winning in two others. It’s the cheapest and oldest phone here, so to outperform these two at all shows how accomplished Honor is at producing great cameras. The Moto G6 also took some excellent photos, and we enjoyed using features like Spot Color to produce some fun images that would be more time consuming to make with the other devices. What’s more, it was definitely the fastest to take each photo thanks to that gesture shortcut.

Here’s our complicated conclusion. The most expensive phone is the best for photos and video, except when it’s not at which time it’s the absolute worst, and the cheapest phone is the best all-rounder. In the middle is the Moto G6, a phone that you won’t be unhappy with at all. Plus, Motorola really did prove it has the fastest camera app here, with its shake-to-wake feature. All that said, it’s very hard to argue against the Honor 7X when it costs so little.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Moto G6 vs Nokia 7 Plus vs Honor 7X Camera Shootout
  • Battle of the budget phones: Moto G6 vs. Nokia 6.1 camera shootout
  • OnePlus 6 vs. OnePlus 5T vs. OnePlus 5 vs OnePlus 3T camera shootout
  • OnePlus 6 vs. OnePlus 5T vs. OnePlus 5: Is it worth it to upgrade?
  • Moto Z3 Play vs. Moto Z2 Play vs. Moto Z Play: Should you upgrade?



7
Aug

Here’s how Google’s Digital Wellbeing feature looks and works in Android 9.0 Pie


Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Feel like you’re spending too much time on your smartphone? Tech addiction is a real problem. A recent survey, developed by Motorola and an expert from Harvard University, found more than half of Generation Z respondents described their phone as a best friend, and 35 percent of respondents agreed they spend too much on their smartphone.

Google and Apple have noticed. Both companies have developed tools in the latest versions of their respective mobile operating systems to help people control time spent on smartphones. We’ve compared the differences between Digital Wellbeing in Android 9.0 Pie and Screen Time in iOS 12, but we’re only now getting our first real look at Google’s initiative. Android 9.0 Pie may have rolled out, but Digital Wellbeing is still in beta, and you will need to sign up to test it before it rolls out later this year. The beta is only available for Pixel and Pixel 2 series smartphones. Let’s take a closer look.

Set up

After signing up for the beta through our Pixel 2 XL, we received an email inviting us to download the beta version of the Digital Wellbeing app. This may download as a traditional app, but you won’t be able to find it through the Google Play Store on another smartphone. Once downloaded, it’s also not an app available in the App Drawer. Instead, head to the Settings app and scroll to the bottom. There’s a new Digital Wellbeing category sandwiched between Accessibility and above Google. Tap it, and the following two splash pages will appear, and you will need to give Digital Wellbeing access to Do Not Disturb.

Digital Wellbeing

In the hub of Digital Wellbeing, a circle lies at the top, and the number in the middle shows for how long the screen has been turned on. The circle’s line is made up of a variety of colors, with each one highlighting an app you spent the most time using (it shows five apps, and the rest fall in the Other category). Tap on the name or color of each app to dive into more detailed information. For example, tapping Twitter shows we spent 9 minutes in the app this week — this can also be broken down daily and hourly, and you can cycle through weeks. Tap on the little down arrow at the top right corner, and you can change the graph to show Notifications received, and Times opened. For us, it said we received 11 Twitter notifications this week, and that we opened the app twice.

You can set App Timers here, which we’ll get to soon, and control the app’s notifications as well.

Head back to the main screen, and there are two other numbers below the circle — the amount of times the phone has been unlocked in a day, and the total amount of notifications received. You can’t really act on these specific numbers, but their presence hopefully may help people visualize exactly how many times we reach for our phone in a given day.

The two main “ways to disconnect” are listed below the circle: Dashboard and Wind Down. Before we dive into these, at the very bottom are two links to jump into Android’s notification management menu and the Do Not Disturb menu, both of which we’ve already explored. Android 9.0 makes it easy as pie to turn off notifications from apps (you can even control which notifications from apps come through), and the revamped Do Not Disturb system is dead simple to use. Just turn it on and all visual and sound interruptions disappear (but it’s also customizable).

Dashboard: Setting App Limits

Tap the number in the middle of the circle or Dashboard on the main Digital Wellbeing menu to access your smartphone usage data. You can see different information here, such as how many notifications you’ve received and screen time, as well as a list of apps you spent the most time using. Next to these apps are labels that say No timer. If you feel like you’re using an app for far too long, tap No timer and a pop up menu with a few options will appear: 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, or custom timer. Set a limit you feel is appropriate, and once you hit your allotted time limit, you’ll see the following:

The app will minimize, and a popup appears saying you’ve hit your allotted screen time. Take a look at the app on your home screen or App Drawer, and it will be gray-scale, indicating it’s not available. Tap it, and a message will pop up saying as much. If you tap Learn more, you’re taken to the Dashboard where you can turn off the App Limit for the app. It feels a little too easy to turn off App Limits, and we found the same to be true with Apple’s iOS 12 Screen Time limits.

Wind Down

Our favorite Digital Wellbeing feature is Wind Down, which is when several actions are triggered at bedtime. Tap Wind Down from the main screen and you can set up a time for it to start and end. During this time period, your entire phone will go gray-scale, and Do Not Disturb mode will turn on, blocking all visual and sound interruptions (tap the toggle buttons to turn either of these off). The phone will also trigger the blue-light filtering night mode if it isn’t on already.

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Without seeing any notifications, and with color stripped away from your smartphone’s screen, the idea is that you will want to put down your phone at bedtime and go to sleep. We haven’t found an easy way to turn off Wind Down mode quickly. You can toggle Do Not Disturb and night mode from the notification drawer, but if you want to bring color back you will need to wait for the mode to end, or head to Settings > Digital Wellbeing > Wind Down > and tap the toggle next to Wind Down at the top.

Conclusion

We’re happy to see Google providing data such as how many times we’ve unlocked the phone, exactly what apps we’ve spent time on, and how much. It has helped us realize exactly which apps we should limit, though the App Limits are a little too easy to override. We do think the gray-scale home screen is incredibly useful, as it really does make us want to put the phone down.

As we’ve mentioned before, these screen management features in Android and iOS ultimately require the user to do a bit of work. If you seriously want to change the amount of time on your smartphone, think of Digital Wellbeing as a helpful guide lighting the way — though you’ll still need to follow the path yourself.

Digital Wellbeing will roll out later this year to all devices running Android 9.0 Pie. If you have a Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, or Pixel 2 XL, you can sign up for the beta here.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • A cure for phone fatigue? Apple’s Screen Time vs. Google’s Digital Wellbeing
  • Got Android 9.0 Pie? Here’s why you should turn off auto screen rotation
  • Here’s how to download and install Android 9.0 Pie
  • How to use Android 9.0 Pie’s gesture navigation, and how to turn it off
  • Android 9.0 Pie: Everything you need to know



7
Aug

The EU’s pushing for standardized phone chargers again


Plans for a further push towards a common mobile phone charger are being examined in Europe. The EU commissioner for competition, Margrethe Vestager, highlighted a lack of progress in the area, despite repeated attempts to reduce charger waste. According to a Reuters report, Vesteger told a lawmaker in Europe, who enquired about the ongoing situation, that the Commission found the currently voluntary system was making, “unsatisfactory progress,” and that a new study would soon be launched to examine alternative options.

Called an impact assessment study, this will help the Commission decide if it should introduce new rules, and how they would operate. While there is no guarantee the study will result in any mandatory changes, the EU Commission has been trying to influence the way device manufacturers produce and bundle chargers with products since 2009. The environmental impact of these chargers is considerable, with the EU stating each year chargers make up 51,000 tons of electronic waste in the the region.

Mobile device manufacturers signed on to produce a common charger for all smart devices sold in Europe at this time, which was based around the Micro USB connector, ready to end the use of proprietary cables and connectors. The original agreement was then re-signed in 2013 and 2014, and again in 2018 when USB Type-C was added. Apple, Samsung, LG, Sony, Google, Motorola, and Lenovo are all signatories. However, the scheme is voluntary, and not all the companies that signed in 2009, resigned again in later years.

While it’s rare not to buy a modern smartphone that doesn’t use a USB Type-C or Micro USB charger, there has been an increase in the use of proprietary fast charging systems. These often require the bundled charging brick and cable to operate — OnePlus’s Dash Charge, and Huawei’s SuperCharge, for example — and only charge slowly when a non-compatible charger is used. Apple uses its own Lightning connector on the iPhone, but sells an adaptors to alter the configuration of a Micro USB cable to comply.

A start date for the study has not been announced yet, and no information on the alternative options the EU will investigate has been revealed.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • The best portable chargers of 2018
  • The best wireless phone chargers for your iPhone or Android
  • The best iPhone car chargers
  • The best iPhone X battery cases
  • For the 2019 Dodge Charger, V8 muscle is the fountain of youth



7
Aug

How to cancel MoviePass on Android


MoviePass is great until it isn’t. If you’re fed up with the service and just want out, here’s how to cancel your membership.

moviepass-home-screen.jpg?itok=HBZQ5GQp

Without a doubt, one of the most controversial companies of the year is MoviePass. The offer of $9.95/month to see one movie per day started out as something that was seemingly too good to be true, but as time’s gone on, that offer’s become less and less magical.

Thanks to things like no repeat viewings, being limited to 3 movies per month, and showtimes that completely disappear from the app for no reason at all, you might have had enough with MoviePass and just want out. The company does allow you to cancel your membership at any time, and if you need help doing that, we’re here to walk you through what that process looks like.

Open MoviePass and tab on the Account tab.
Tap Account Details at the very top.
Tap Plan & Billing Info.

Tap the red Cancel text near the top-right.

moviepass-how-to-cancel-1.jpg?itok=xJbBcmoviepass-how-to-cancel-2.jpg?itok=relvsmoviepass-how-to-cancel-3.jpg?itok=nAn0D

Tap Reason for cancellation and select one of the items in the drop-down menu.
Tap Cancel Subscription at the bottom.

On the pop-up, tap Cancel Membership once again to confirm your decision.

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Once you cancel your membership, you won’t be able to reactivate your account or start a new subscription for 9 months. In other words, make sure you’re absolutely certain you want to give MoviePass the peace sign before moving forward.

Also, your account will remain active until your next billing date. As such, no matter if you’re signed up for a monthly or annual plan, you’ll be able to keep on using MoviePass like normal until your renewal date.

MoviePass: Everything you need to know

7
Aug

Upgrade your home theatre setup with the £57 Soundcore Infini Mini soundbar


Better sound quality without breaking the bank.

For today only, you can grab the Soundcore Infini Mini Soundbar at Amazon UK for just £56.99. The product’s price has remained at £75.99 since it was released so today’s promotion marks its lowest price to date. anker-soundcore-infini-mini-tq6a.png?ito

The 21-inch Infini Mini from Soundcore — sub-brand of Anker — can connect to devices through Bluetooth or directly to a TV via optical or 3.5mm cable. It offers two different sound profiles for movies or music and its compact size allows it you to place it directly under a TV, slot it into your TV stand or wall mount it.

This deal ends today, so if you want to upgrade your home theatre setup with this affordable soundbar then act fast before it’s gone. By purchasing the soundbar, you also qualify for 25% off the Soundcore Motion B portable Bluetooth speaker and 15% off Anker’s PowerPort wireless Qi charger.

For more UK deals coverage, be sure to keep an eye on Thrifter UK, sign up for the UK newsletter and follow the team on Twitter.

See at Amazon UK

7
Aug

Logitech Announces Apple-Designed ‘POWERED’ Wireless Charging Stand for iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X


Logitech has announced a new wireless charger for iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X that aims to make it easier to use your smartphone while charging it at the same time.

Designed “in collaboration with Apple”, Logitech’s POWERED Wireless Charging Stand can be placed on a desk or bedside table, and can hold your iPhone in an upright position – ideal for unlocking Face ID and reading notifications without removing the device from the U-shaped cradle.

Two additional features distinguish the POWERED from most other charging stands on the market: First, your device doesn’t have to be in exact alignment with the stand to complete the charging circuit, so you can “drop your iPhone on the cradle and go”, according to Logitech.


Second, the POWERED also supports landscape orientation, so you can watch video on your smartphone’s screen while it’s charging. The stand also charges iPhones wearing a protective case up to 3mm thick.

Logitech says the POWERED delivers up to 7.5W charging for iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X only, and up to 5W charging for all other Qi-enabled devices. The stand will be available this month in an “off-white” color for $69.99 at Logitech.com and Apple’s online store. Stay tuned for a review of the POWERED here on MacRumors.

Today’s announcement shouldn’t affect Apple’s plans to launch its multi-device AirPower charging mat before or in September.

Related Roundups: iPhone 8, iPhone XTags: Logitech, AirPowerBuyer’s Guide: iPhone 8 (Don’t Buy), iPhone X (Caution)
Discuss this article in our forums

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7
Aug

Consumer Reports Says Apple Pay Cash is the Best P2P Mobile Payments Service


Apple Pay Cash is the highest-rated mobile peer-to-peer payments service on the market, according to a review by Consumer Reports.

In the first comparison of its kind, the Consumer Reports publication looked at the relative pros and cons of Apple Pay Cash, Zella, Square Cash, Venmo and Facebook Messenger P2P payments. Google Pay’s new money-sending feature wasn’t included in the group test, however.

The five services were rated worse or better in terms of payment authentication, data security, data privacy, customer support, and broad access (use not limited to those with a bank account or particular mobile device).

All five services were rated good enough to use, but Apple Pay Cash came out the winner with a higher overall score, mainly because of its stronger privacy and security measures.

Apple Pay was the only service that got top marks from CR for data privacy, because its policies state that it limits the information it collects and shares on users and their transactions. It doesn’t store credit card or debit card numbers, and it states in the terms and conditions that it doesn’t sell users’ personal information to third parties, CR found.

The requirement of later-generation Apple hardware and software was classed as the only major drawback of Apple Pay Cash, as per the “broad access” category described above.

Venmo, Facebook Messenger, and Square Cash all rated above average in most categories barring privacy. Zelle was downrated for poor clarity in its data policies, and failed to offer a way to confirm payments in its mobile app, although the company said the feature would be included by late October.

After a brief delay, Apple Pay Cash arrived on iOS devices in December 2017, although it’s currently only available to users in the United States.

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7
Aug

Apple Signals Smart Home Mesh Networking Interest by Joining ‘The Thread Group’


Apple has become a member of The Thread Group, an organization that supports companies interested in innovating networking solutions for consumer smart home devices using the Thread mesh standard (via 9to5Mac).

Apple has been added to the list of official members on the group’s website, although what that means in practical terms is unclear. According to literature available online, the group’s mission is “to focus on education, marketing, promotion of the Thread Networking Protocol, and ensuring a great experience through rigorous, meaningful product certification”.

Thread Group is a not-for-profit organization responsible for the market education around the Thread networking protocol and certification of Thread products. Thread is an IP-based wireless networking protocol providing the best way to connect products in the home. With Thread, product developers and consumers can easily and securely connect more than 250 devices into a low-power, wireless mesh network.

Thread is just one among several mesh standards that smart home products can be certified to support. Zigbee and Z-Wave are two such examples of rival standards competing in the connected home market, while Bluetooth was also recently updated to support mesh networking, or creating large-scale networks across devices without relying on a central hub or router.

In recent years, Wi-Fi mesh systems have become a popular solution for in-home wireless networks, with options from companies like Linksys, Orbi, Eero, and Google.

The technology is also looking to expand, with the Wi-Fi Alliance in May announcing a new certification program called “EasyMesh”, which aims to allow users to build mesh networks in their homes across different brands.

Apple joined the Qi Wireless Charging Consortium ahead of its adoption of inductive charging in last year’s iPhone lineup, so Apple’s Thread Group membership is sure to ignite speculation that the Thread standard could be coming to HomeKit products or even a future version of HomeKit.

Tags: HomeKit, mesh routers
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