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24
Aug

DirecTV Now Ending Public Beta for True Cloud DVR, Will Launch Paid Higher Storage Tiers Soon


DirecTV is warning customers that its True Cloud DVR service will officially come out of beta next week, and any customers who were receiving 100 hours of recording space during the public beta will now be reset to the base 20 hours offered as a free add-on to DirecTV Now packages (via Cord Cutters News and Multichannel News). The end of the beta is said to happen on August 29, and anyone who already has 20 hours shouldn’t see much of a change in their DirecTV Now app, besides the removal of any beta-related terminology.

For customers with 100 hours of beta storage, AT&T says it will erase any content more than 30 days old and will keep up to 20 hours of the most recently recorded videos. So, anyone with 100 hours on the DirecTV Now True Cloud DVR should make sure they’re caught up with all of their shows and movies this weekend ahead of the end of the beta next week.

DirecTV Now began warning these customers via email earlier in the week:

We couldn’t have done it without you.

Thanks to your help with our beta testing program, DIRECTV NOW is better than ever, with great new features like True Cloud DVR beta*, locals on the go**, and an upgraded interface.

As part of the beta testing program, you had access to 100 hours of DVR storage. Since the program has ended, on August 29th your storage will transition to 20 free hours of True Cloud DVR beta, which is included with your service. So make sure to stream all the good stuff you love now. And don’t worry – the most recent 20 hours of content will remain on your DVR, as long as it is less than 30 days old.

Keep on streaming and enjoying all of your favorite content, with access to third-party apps, and 40,000+ titles** on Video On Demand.

As the beta ends, AT&T is rumored to be gearing up “several tiers” of True Cloud DVR service that customers can purchase as an add-on to their base plans. Tiers are said to range from 50 hours to 120 hours, but prices haven’t been disclosed. DirecTV Now did mention in May that one such tier would be 100 hours of recordings (saved for up to 90 days) for an extra $10 per month, so the cost of additional tiers can be extrapolated from that price point.

The True Cloud DVR has been in public beta since May 2018, and offered most users 20 hours of recording space while a select group of users got 100 hours of space. At the time of that launch, the company stated that “more capacity options” would be coming later in the summer, so it appears that these options will be launching imminently.

If you don’t want to add anything else onto your monthly DirecTV Now bill (which recently went up by $5/month), all users will get 20 hours of DVR storage at no additional cost. DirecTV Now is available as an app on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, and DVR recordings are synced between all platforms that you’re signed into.

Tag: DirecTV Now
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24
Aug

Apple Seeds Ninth Beta of New watchOS 5 Operating System to Developers


Apple today seeded the ninth beta of an upcoming watchOS 5 update to developers, four days after releasing the eighth beta and more than two months after introducing the software at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

To get the beta, you’ll need the proper configuration profile, which can be obtained through the Apple Developer Center. Once the profile is in place, the watchOS 5 beta can be downloaded using the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General –> Software Update.

To install the update, an Apple Watch needs to have 50 percent battery, it must be placed on an Apple Watch charger, and it has to be in range of the iPhone.

watchOS 5 is a major update to the watchOS operating system, introducing Activity Competitions so you can compete on workouts with friends, Walkie-Talkie with push-to-talk functionality for quickly communicating with the people you talk to most, and auto workout detection to make it easier to start and stop workouts if you forget.

Other new features include an improved Siri watch face with support for third-party apps through Siri Shortcuts, a dedicated Apple Podcasts app, new Workout types that include Yoga and Hiking, new features for runners, WebKit support for viewing some web content on Apple Watch, and enhanced notifications, which will make notifications on the Apple Watch interactive.

watchOS 5 is only available to developers and will not be provided to public beta testers (because there’s no way to downgrade Apple Watch software), so non-developers will need to wait until the software is officially released in the fall to try it out.

The watchOS 5 update runs on all Series 1, Series 2, and Series 3 Apple Watch models, but it is not available for the first-generation “Series 0” Apple Watch models.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4, watchOS 5Buyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)
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24
Aug

Future iPhones and Apple Watches May Use New Power-Saving Backplane Technology to Extend Battery Life


Apple may adopt a new power-saving backplane technology for iPhone and Apple Watch displays in the long term, which should contribute to longer battery life on those devices, according to research firm IHS Markit.

For context, the backplane is responsible for turning individual pixels on and off, meaning that it plays a significant role in determining a display’s resolution, refresh rate, and power consumption, as IHS explains.

At present, OLED displays in smartphones use LTPS TFT, or low-temperature polysilicon thin-film transistors, as the standard backplane technology. But, in the coming years, IHS believes Apple could switch to LTPO TFT, or low-temperature polycrystalline oxide, for the backplane in future iPhones.


In theory, IHS estimates that LTPO can save 5-15% in power consumption versus LTPS, resulting in extended battery life on future iPhones. The reasons for this are quite technical, but from a high level, IHS says that LPTO has an Oxide TFT structure that can reduce the power leakage of LTPS.

The more technical explanation is that power consumption would be especially reduced under a “switching model,” where “the pixel circuit would be patterned such that the switching TFT would be p-Si and the drive TFT would be IGZO.”

As the size and resolution of iPhone displays continues to increase, power consumption increases, so any battery life gains are beneficial.

IHS believes that Apple may also be interested in developing LTPO technology to gain more control over components of OLED displays, as it says manufacturers like Samsung and LG currently maintain exclusive control over the process.

Apple currently sources flexible OLED panels exclusively from Samsung, but LG may emerge as a second supplier as it aims for qualification, according to IHS. Samsung and LG are both suppliers of flexible OLED panels for the Apple Watch, too, and IHS says Apple may soon require them to look at LTPO.

IHS Markit believes Apple may ask display manufacturers to start deploying LTPO first on the Apple Watch, and then gradually introduce it in the iPhone display over the long term, as it did with OLED first on Apple Watch and then iPhone X.

Tag: IHS
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24
Aug

Algorithm outperforms humans at spotting fake news


An artificial intelligence system that can tell the difference between real and fake news — often with better success rates than its human counterparts — has been developed by researchers at the University of Michigan. Such a system may hep social media platforms, search engines, and news aggregators filter out articles meant to misinform.

“As anyone else, we have been disturbed by the negative effect that fake news can have in major political events [and] daily life,” Rada Mihalcea, a UM computer science professor who developed the system, told Digital Trends. “My group has done a significant amount of work on deception detection for nearly ten years. We saw an opportunity to address a major societal problem through the expertise we accumulated over the years.”

Mihalcea and her team developed a linguistic algorithm that analyzes written speech and looks for cues such as grammatical structure, punctuation, and complexity, which may offer telltale signs of fake news. Since many of today’s news aggregators and social media sites rely on human editors to spot misinformation, assistance from an automated system could help streamline the process.

To train their system, the researchers represented linguistic features like punctuation and word choice as data, then fed that data into an algorithm.

“Interestingly, what algorithms look for is not always intuitive for people to look for,” Mihalcea said. “In this and other research we have done on deception, we have found for instance that the use of the word ‘I’ is associated with truth. It is easy for an algorithm to count the number of times ‘I’ is said, and find the difference. People however do not do such counting naturally, and while it may be easy, it would distract them from the actual understanding of the text.”

The system demonstrated a 76-percent success rate at spotting fake news articles, compared to around 70 percent for humans. Mihalcea envisions such a system helping both news aggregators and end users distinguish between true and intentionally false stories.

The system can’t completely compensate for humans, however. For one, it doesn’t fact check, so well-meaning (but ultimately false) content will still slip through.

The researchers will present a paper detailing the system was presented at the International Conference on Computational Linguistics in Santa Fe, New Mexico on August 24.

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24
Aug

Key settings you need to change on your brand-new Galaxy Note 9


Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Have you peeled the plastic off your shiny new Galaxy Note 9 yet? As you start setting up your new Samsung smartphone, we’ve rounded up 10 settings you may want to tweak to get the best experience.

You can check out our Galaxy Note 9 review for our impressions, and check out our picks for best Note 9 cases to add some protection to that all-glass phone.

Get the best screen resolution

Out of the box, your Galaxy Note 9 won’t have the maximum screen resolution turned on by default. Why? Samsung said it’s to conserve battery life, and the screen still looks good at 2,220 x 1,080 resolution. But you bought the best big-screen smartphone, so, of course, you want a resolution to match the phone’s 6.4-inch screen. Head to Settings by opening your App Drawer and finding the Settings icon, or swipe down on the notification drawer and tap the gear icon at the top right. Tap Display > Screen resolution and drag the slider to the maximum 2,960 x 1,440-pixel resolution.  You can even set the resolution to a paltry 1,480 x 720 pixels in case you really want to save on battery life.

Change the navigation bar

If you’re coming from another Android phone, whether it’s an LG or a Google device, you may find Samsung’s navigation button layout strange. Most Android devices use a Back/Home/Recents layout, but Samsung has long opted for the Recent/Home/Back system. Thankfully, Samsung lets you change it. Head over to Settings > Display > Navigation Bar > Button layout and tap on Back/Home/Recents to choose the traditional Android layout. Here, you can also change the color of the navigation bar, add a button to hide the navigation bar for a full-screen app experience, or customize the pressure level needed to use the home button from the lock screen.

Customize the S Pen

The S Pen is more useful than ever before on the Note 9, largely because it now comes Bluetooth-equipped. That means you can use it as a remote to control functions on your smartphone. By default, holding down the button on the S Pen will open the camera — press it once to snap a picture, and press it twice to swap between the rear or front camera. If you’re not much of a photographer, you can change the default app. Head over to Settings > Advanced features > S Pen > S Pen remote > and tap Hold down pen button to. You can technically choose any app, but the single and double press action buttons won’t work — only a few apps support them, such as Chrome or the Gallery app. Alternatively, you can choose to use the button to trigger S Pen functions like Create Note, Live Messages, Magnify, or Translate.

If you head back to the general S Pen settings page, there are more options to tweak so you can customize the experience a little more.

Turn on advanced features like Smart Stay, Finger Sensor Gestures, SOS messages

Since you’re in the Advanced features section already, we recommend taking a look at a few other options you can toggle on that add some convenience. Smart Stay, for example, is a feature that has been around in Samsung phones for quite some time, and it will keep the screen on as long as it recognizes you are still staring at it. Tap the toggle icon for it in Settings > Advanced features > Smart stay. You should also toggle on Finger Sensor Gestures, which will allow you to swipe your finger down on the rear fingerprint sensor to pull down the notification drawer (or open Samsung Pay). This setting is a few options below Smart Stay. There’s also Video enhancer to toggle on further below, which will make videos look better, and Send SOS messages will let you tap the power key three times to send out an SOS alert to family or friends.

If you love using split-screen mode, you can customize this further by tapping on Multi window > Use Recents button. This will now turn on split-screen mode when you press and hold the Recents button.

Hide apps in the App Drawer

Is the App Drawer a little too cluttered for you? If there are apps you don’t use and can’t uninstall, you can hide them from showing up here by opening the App Drawer, tapping on the three vertical dots on the top right, and tapping Home screen settings > Hide apps.  Now just select the apps you want to hide and tap Apply.

Back in the Home screen settings, you can hide the App Drawer completely and just put all your apps on the home screen by changing the Home screen layout; or you can add an Apps button to the dock if you don’t want to swipe up for the App Drawer.

Turn off Bixby Home

At the moment, there’s no way to easily remap or turn off the Bixby button on the Galaxy Note 9. You can turn off Bixby Home, however, which is the screen to the left of the home screen. Bixby Home is supposed to offer up contextually relevant cards to make your smartphone even more helpful, but if you’re not finding it very useful, you may as well get rid of it. Just press and hold anywhere on the home screen, then move to the left and turn the toggle for Bixby Home off. It’s here that you can also access wallpapers, themes, widgets, and home screen settings.

Use Volume Keys for media, toggle system sounds

If you often leave your smartphone on silent or vibrate, then you may want to make sure the volume buttons focus on controlling sound from media. You can change this by heading to Settings > Sounds and vibration and togglling on Use Volume keys for media. Now, no matter when you press the volume buttons, it will default to increasing or decreasing the media volume.

Samsung also leaves a lot of system sounds on by default, such as when you tap items on the screen, when you dial on the keypad, or type on the keyboard. You can customize exactly what you want sound turned on for, and what you want to turn off. It’s in the same Settings > Sounds and vibration section, just look below System and Key-tap feedback. One more thing — if you have headphones that support Dolby Atmos, you can turn it on here as well; just scroll all the way to the bottom, tap Sound quality and effects, and toggle on Dolby Atmos.

Make the Edge Panel transparent

As useful as Edge Panel is, the handle on the edge of your home screen can look a little ugly. Thankfully, there’s a way to hide it without compromising all the features Edge Panel provides. Slide out the panel from the edge of the screen and tap the gear icon on the bottom left. Next. tap the three vertical dots on the top right, and go to Edge panel handle. Here. you can choose to put the Edge Panel on the left or right edges of the screen, and you can increase its size and transparency to your liking. We’ve set our transparency to the highest and maximized the size, so swiping from the edge will still bring out the panel, which will now look hidden.

See all your notifications, schedule the blue-light filter

By default, you will only see three of the most recent notification icons in the Status Bar at the top of your phone’s screen. If you want to see all the notification icons from all your alerts, head over to Settings > Display > Status Bar >  and toggle off Show recent notifications only. Now your Status Bar will be populated with more than three notification icons when you have a lot of alerts.

In the same Display section, you should also consider scheduling the blue-light filter to protect your eyes. Studies have shown that blue light from screens at night can be harmful to our sleep and health, and blue-light filters try to mitigate this by decreasing the amount of blue light in screens. Head over to Display > Blue light filter to turn it on. You can schedule it to turn on at sunset and off by sunrise, or you can create a custom schedule. You can quickly toggle the filter on or off by using the quick settings tile in the notification drawer.

Personalize the lock screen clock

Did you know you can change the look of the clock on the lock screen and always-on display? Head over to Settings > Lock screen and first make sure the Always On Display is toggled on. Then tap Clock style and you will see two tabs at the top — one for the Always On Display and the other for the Lock Screen. At the bottom are several options to choose from, and when you pick one, you can then tap the Color tab at the bottom right to tweak the color of the clock. When you’re finished, tap Done at the top right.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Everything you can do with the S Pen on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9
  • Galaxy S7 tips and tricks
  • How to take a screenshot on a Galaxy S9 and other Android phones
  • Key settings you need to change on your brand-new iPhone X, 8, or 8 Plus
  • How to improve your Android privacy



24
Aug

Seven Years Ago Today: Steve Jobs Resigns as CEO of Apple, Tim Cook Named His Successor


Today marks the seventh anniversary of the late Steve Jobs resigning as CEO of Apple. In a letter addressed to Apple’s Board of Directors, dated August 24, 2011, Jobs strongly recommended then-COO Tim Cook be named his successor.

Letter from Steve Jobs:

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.

Steve

Apple’s Board of Directors approved the request, effective immediately, with Jobs elected Chairman of the Board. Jobs reportedly remained closely involved with Apple’s strategic decision-making until passing away October 5, 2011.

Tags: Tim Cook, Steve Jobs
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24
Aug

T-Mobile Discloses Recent Security Breach Impacting 2M Customers, No Financial Data Compromised


T-Mobile and its subsidiary MetroPCS today disclosed a recent incident where hackers gained “unauthorized access to certain information” of its customers, which the companies have already reported to the police and shut down. The security breach occurred earlier this week on Monday, August 20, and affected two million customers (via Motherboard).

T-Mobile promises that no financial data, credit card information, social security numbers, or passwords were compromised in the breach. However, “some of your personal information may have been exposed,” the company states in the letter shared online, including one or more of the following: name, billing zip code, phone number, email address, account number, and account type (prepaid or postpaid).

A T-Mobile spokesperson says that the security breach affected “slightly less than” three percent of its 77 million customers, but did not reference a specific number. The incident reportedly happened “early in the morning” on August 20, and was perpetrated by hackers part of “an international group” that accessed T-Mobile servers through an API that “didn’t contain any financial data or other very sensitive data.”

The intrusion was discovered by T-Mobile’s cybersecurity team the same day:

“We found it quickly and shut it down very fast,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said she couldn’t give “specifics” of the attack and did not know whether the hackers were criminals or part of a government.

T-Mobile is reaching out to victims directly via text message to notify them, she said.

T-Mobile is now reaching out to notify all affected customers, and “if you don’t receive a notification then that means your account was not among those impacted by this incident.” The breach occurred less than a week after T-Mobile announced its new customer service initiative “Team of Experts.”

Tag: T-Mobile
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24
Aug

What does that high score cost you? Why one in five gamers falls victim to fraud


Fortnite, the incredibly popular battle royale shooter by Epic Games, has seen a recent rise in scams that trick players into giving scammers access to their account in hopes of scoring some free V-bucks, the premium in-game currency that players buy with real money and can be used to purchase various cosmetics and emotes.

(in)Secure is a weekly column that dives into the rapidly escalating topic of cybersecurity.

The threats in games are many, whether it’s a world-ending boss monster or an army of the undead. But there are real-world dangers we face when playing games too. Thanks to the way subscription models and microtransactions dominate the way games are purchased these days, hackers, cheaters, and trolls have more tools than ever to take advantage of gamers.

Financial fraud has become an issue in gaming like never before, and it’s having a lasting impact on how games are being made and played.

Everyone knows a victim

A new study from payment solutions company ACI Worldwide and gaming research firm, Newzoo, discovered that as many as one in five gamers have been a victim of payment fraud in popular games. One in three gamers go out of their way to avoid paying for anything in games, simply because they are concerned about the risk involved.

That’s a disturbing number of people who have been affected by the financial fraud that modern day gaming makes possible.

Andy McDonald, Vice President of Merchant Payments at ACI Worldwide

“With the rise of micro-transactions and consumers demanding a seamless gaming experience, game publishers increasingly want to store payment information to ensure the next purchase is just one click/tap away,” Andy McDonald, Vice President of Merchant Payments at ACI Worldwide told Digital Trends. “A gaming company that has payment credentials on file makes an attractive target for hackers – and data breaches are one concern.”

As McDonald notes, the accessibility of digital wallets and the tokenization of card data has made protection against breaches a bit easier. But there’s a larger problem that game companies have far fewer tools to combat it with.

“The bigger danger comes from the growing number of scams and ‘phishing’ attempts that are aimed at luring gamers into parting with sensitive data and payment credentials,” said McDonald.

“When a player goes to make a deposit on a gaming site, Paysafe ensures that the payment is secure … “

As with email, there is an enormous audience of potential victims to target in gaming. The Newzoo and ACI study discovered that of the 2,000 gamers polled, some 50 percent of console and PC gamers spend money on in-game purchases. That number increased to 75 percent of mobile players. Although there is a sizable portion of gamers who are concerned enough about fraud to prevent them from investing heavily in games, or at all, fraudsters are finding enough of a market for their scams that it’s proving profitable.

That near 20-percent victim rate suggests that the problem has become pervasive within the industry.

Bring in the professionals

To try and combat financial fraud in gaming, developers are turning to professional organizations to protect their games and gamers.

“Making fraud prevention a priority […] typically means working with a third-party vendor that provides comprehensive enterprise fraud detection and prevention,” McDonald explained. “Real-time, multi-tiered solutions are becoming the norm, and dedicated risk analysts can help gaming companies to constantly tweak their fraud strategy as new threats emerge.”

Some security companies, such as Paysafe, want to remove the direct financial link between gamers’ credentials and the games. Its Paysafecard, which acts like a prepaid debit card, has been accepted as a payment option on Steam since 2010, and can today be used to pay for content in games like Final Fantasy XIV, League of Legends, or in Wargaming.net titles like World of Warships.

Just as popular games can create a potential for fraud, popular payment providers can also become fodder for fraudsters.

“When a player goes to make a deposit on a gaming site, Paysafe ensures that the payment is secure using its many risk and fraud prevention tools including velocity, geo-location and computer fingerprinting among others,” Paysafe EVP of business development, Neil Erlick told Digital Trends. “Paysafe indemnifies the merchant, so that there are no associated chargebacks and conducts your customer (KYC) checks to confirm the player’s identity.”

A unified, singular payment provider across multiple titles makes it easier for gamers to trust the financial service to safeguard their information too. The ACI and Newzoo study found that trust was the biggest consideration gamers had in whether they put money into a game or not. While enjoyment of the game might encourage their interest in doing so, most gamers would only follow through with that if they trusted the company behind it.

McDonald championed the idea of collaboration and unification of payment models between providers, suggesting such a “consortium approach” could help better identify potential fraud by profiling gamers and the types of payments they make.

Paysafe Card can be used to pay for virtual goods in games like Final Fantasy XIV and League of Legends.

But just as popular games can create a potential for fraud within those expansive player bases, popular payment providers can themselves become fodder for fraudsters.

Scamming doesn’t change

A quick search for anything much related to Paysafecards quickly turfs up a number of tutorials and guides on how to “hack” them or artificially increase the balance on them without paying. If such flaws in the card system existed, they would effectively invalidate it as a legitimate way to pay for anything, whether in games or not.

As Erlick highlights, there’s nothing legitimate about them.

Neil Erlick, Executive Vice President of Business Development at Paysafe

“Software or websites claiming to be able to hack Paysafecard PINs, or to be able to increase the balance on Paysafecard PINs with downloadable software, are always scams,” he said. “Criminals use such methods in an attempt to access the balance of Paysafecard PINs. For this reason, we make it very clear on our website, and through other communications, that customers should never enter Paysafecard PINs into such software or on such websites.”

Despite these claims, videos that purport to make such hacks possible have tens of thousands of views, suggesting that a good number of gamers may have put themselves at risk of financial fraud. ACI’s McDonald highlighted too, that phony giveaways have become a major way for fraudsters to target gamers.

“Gamers have all come across ‘giveaways’ – whether it’s gems, coins, bucks or a free copy of the latest DLC,” he said. “All you need to do is ‘download the app’ or ‘sign-up’ through entering personal details. But if it seems too good to be true, it’s probably a fraud.”

Protecting yourself

As with the return of spam, there is some heart to be taken in the fact that scams and phishing are such prevalent methods of financial fraud in gaming: It allows gamers themselves to fight back against it, as long as they’re aware.

For both Erlick and McDonald, the best first step gamers can take in protecting themselves from financial fraud is sticking to established marketplaces. Reputable companies with longstanding reputations are unlikely to provide ready access to scammers and fraudsters.

Reducing the number of platforms where financial details are stored can also make it far harder for nefarious groups to get hold of your details.

Even age old advice like strong, unique passwords can play a major role too. Changing them regularly prevents repeated instances of fraud and two-factor or biometric authentication makes it harder still.

While microtransactions themselves might feel like interruptions to the gaming experience, there’s nothing more jarring to an realizing you’ve been had. Taking steps to avoid that, while tiresome, are well worth it.

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  • Ubisoft wants your art in ‘Beyond Good & Evil 2,’ and it’s no marketing ploy



24
Aug

Alleged Leaked Image of Case for Redesigned iPad Pro Shows Mysterious Rear Cutout Above Lightning Connector


Alleged leaked images of a case for one of the upcoming redesigned iPad Pro models were shared by Slashleaks today showing a mysterious new cutout on the back.

Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said Apple is working on two new iPad Pro models, to measure 11 and 12.9-inches. These images are said to be for the “10.5-inch” model – likely a reference to the new 11-inch device with slimmer bezels and a corresponding larger display – and reveal a pill-shaped hollow on the rear of the case that is horizontally aligned with the Lightning connector.

The case images hark back to a July Mac Otakara report suggesting Apple has relocated the Smart Connector on its upcoming redesigned iPad Pro models from the side to the bottom near the Lightning port.

Shortly after the Mac Otakara report emerged, an alleged CAD image shared by mobile leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer appeared to depict the Smart Connector gone from its usual place and a new oblong indentation near the Lightning port.

The cutout in today’s alleged iPad case leak looks just like the indentation in the CAD render, however unlike the render this case still has a horizontal cutout similar to where a Smart Connector resides on the current crop of iPad Pro models, albeit on the opposite side of the device alongside the volume buttons.

The image throws up a number of questions. Not least of those is how a proposed Smart Connector on the bottom of an iPad Pro would work with Apple’s Smart Keyboard accessory.

The relocated connector would require a new vertically oriented Smart Keyboard, but a keyboard in that orientation would presumably be unstable, especially for the larger iPad Pro, plus it would likely be unsuitable for Office-style productivity work.

Alleged CAD image of new iPad Pro via @OnLeaks
Mac Otakara has suggested that Apple is making the change because Face ID will work only when the iPad Pro is in a vertical orientation. However, previous information from Mac Otakara suggested Apple was working on horizontal Face ID in iOS 12 for the new iPad Pro models, which are expected to incorporate Apple’s TrueDepth Camera system first introduced on the iPhone X.

Commenting on the Mac Otakara report, well-connected Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman also said the horizontal Face ID support is designed for the upcoming iPad Pro models, expected to be announced in September.

But what if the new pill-shaped hollow in the alleged case images is actually for something other than a new Smart Connector, as suggested by the continuing existence of a horizontal cutout?

Is it a magnetic alignment for another type of keyboard or accessory? A wireless charging contact? USB-C? The (highly unlikely) relocation of Touch ID in lieu of support for horizontal Face ID? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Related Roundups: iPad Pro, iOS 12Buyer’s Guide: 10.5″ iPad Pro (Don’t Buy), 12.9″ iPad Pro (Caution)
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24
Aug

Hydra 1.5 Camera App Update Brings New Zoom and HDR Modes


High-resolution photography app Hydra received an update today that brings a couple of much-requested improvements its camera support.

For those unfamiliar with the app, Hydra merges up to 60 individual images to make a single high-quality picture, effectively getting more light from the scene.

In this way, Hydra produces up to 32-megapixel high-resolution images (4x the 8-megapixel sensor resolution), enhanced HDR, better 2x/4x/8x zoom, and reduced camera noise in low-light scenes.

With the just-released version 1.5 update, users can now activate the telephoto camera in Zoom mode on iPhone with double lenses, as well as the front-facing camera in High Dynamic Range and Lo-Light modes.

The update means Hydra users can now take selfies with improved quality in poor lighting conditions, while the Zoom mode can be used in up to 8x for long shots.

It’s worth noting before you update that Hydra 1.5 now requires iOS 10 or later to work. Hydra costs $4.99 and is available to download for iPhone from the App Store. [Direct Link]

Tag: photography
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