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Apple Expands Its Elk Grove Campus in California

Apple is expanding its Elk Grove, California campus with an additional office building, according to the Sacramento Business Journal.

Apple’s new office space via Elk Grove Economic Development
Apple paid $4.2 million for a one-story, 24,400-square-foot building at 2216 Kausen Drive, one block from the campus, according to property records reviewed by the publication. A spokesperson for Apple confirmed the building is part of the ongoing expansion and development of its Elk Grove operations.

The report, citing a city official, says the building is zoned for office use, suggesting that it could be used as additional space for AppleCare support representatives. Apple also has a large distribution center in Elk Grove, along with a repair and refurbishment facility for iPhones and other products.

Apple has been expanding its Elk Grove campus since 2011, and now has over 5,000 employees working there, the report claims. Apple has had a presence in the city, just south of Sacramento, since the early 1990s.

Beyond its headquarters in Cupertino, California, Apple also has a campus in Austin, Texas that handles AppleCare support.

Tag: Apple real estate
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New Apple Maps Cars Spotted in Los Angeles

New next-generation Apple Maps vehicles have been seen on the streets of Los Angeles, according to Business Insider. While Apple has previously been using minivans to collect mapping data, the new vehicles are Subaru Impreza wagons.

The Subarus feature new LIDAR equipment that we have not previously seen either on Apple’s Maps minivans or on the Lexus SUVs that it is using to test self-driving capabilities in Northern California.

Apple has been collecting street-level data from vehicles equipped with multiple cameras and advanced LIDAR systems since 2015. In fact, its original minivans sparked speculation about work on an autonomous vehicle, which turned out to be true, but the minivans from 2015 on were always dedicated to maps.

Apple is using the data that it has gathered from its mapping vehicles in iOS 12, with the revamped Maps app that’s been rebuilt from the ground up for better accuracy and more detail.

Apple is no longer relying on a third-party Maps provider, instead using the information it has collected over the past three years from vehicles driving across the United States and other countries.

The new Maps app, available in California at the current time, offers up improvements to traffic, real-time road conditions, road systems, new construction, and changes in pedestrian walkways along with more detail and accuracy when it comes to displaying foliage like grass and trees, parking lots, building shapes, and more.

It’s not clear why Apple has switched to a new type of mapping vehicle, nor what new equipment it is using, but prior setups have included four LIDAR arrays, eight cameras, a GPS rig, a measurement tool attached to a rear wheel for precise distance tracking and image capture, and inside, a Mac Pro for storing all the data.

The new vehicles appear to be limited to Los Angeles at this time, but a similar setup was spotted in San Francisco in an unmarked white Subaru. If Apple is using a new type of mapping vehicle, we could see them in additional areas in the United States soon.

Apple maintains a full list of all of the locations where it is gathering mapping data at any given time for “future Apple Maps updates” on its website.

Tag: Apple Maps
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Apple Registers New iPad Models and’ Bluetooth Device’ in China

Apple in late September registered new iPad models and a new Bluetooth device with China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), which hints at an imminent release for new iPad Pro models and perhaps a new Apple Pencil.

According to MySmartPrice, Apple registered iPad model numbers A1876, A1980, and A1993 which correspond to previous iPad registrations that we saw Apple file in July with the Eurasian Economic Commission. The exception is A1993, which has not been seen in a prior filing.

iPad Pro mockup by Álvaro Pabesio
The new model numbers do not correspond to any existing devices and likely represent unreleased iPad Pro models. Back in July, Apple also registered A1934, A1979, A2013, A2014, and A1985 with the ECC, representing new iPad Pro models set to be sold in countries that include Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia.

That Apple is registering the previously spotted iPad models in a new country suggests a release could be imminent. With both new iPad models and new Macs on the horizon, we are expecting Apple to hold an October event, which could perhaps take place during the last week of the month based on the release date of the iPhone XR and what we know of past Apple events.

Rumors have suggested the new iPad Pro models could be sold alongside a second-generation Apple Pencil with AirPods-style no-contact pairing, and there is an unknown Bluetooth device in the MIIT filing.

The Bluetooth device, listed as just “Bluetooth device,” features a model number of A2051, with no additional information available. It’s not known what it is, but it could indeed be a new Apple Pencil based on the rumors we’ve heard.

Apple is expected to introduce new iPad Pro models in sizes similar to 10.5 and 12.9-inches, with larger displays featuring slimmer bezels and no Home button. All new iPad Pro models are expected to adopt Face ID and a TrueDepth camera system along with improved processors, better camera capabilities, and perhaps a USB-C port instead of a Lightning port.

Related Roundup: iPad ProTag: Apple PencilBuyer’s Guide: 10.5″ iPad Pro (Don’t Buy), 12.9″ iPad Pro (Don’t Buy)
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Hands-on with the new Nokia 3.1 Plus

HMD Global is on a roll with its budget and mid-range smartphone portfolio, especially in India. After launching the Nokia 6.1 Plus and Nokia 5.1 Plus in India in quick succession, and the Nokia 7.1 globally, the company has now launched the Nokia 3.1 Plus in India.

The successor to the Nokia 3.1, which was launched only a few months ago, the Nokia 3.1 Plus falls in the sub-$175 market that sees intense competition from the likes of Xiaomi, Asus, and others but also makes up the majority volume of sales for any brand.

I spent some time with the Nokia 3.1 Plus ahead of its launch in India today, and here are my first impressions of the same.


Nokia 3.1 Plus

The design language on the Nokia 3.1 Plus is an aberration from what we’ve seen on the company’s recent devices. HMD Global has opted for a polycarbonate shell with a smooth rubberized shell this time around. This is quite a departure from the slippery glass back and offers a perfect grip in the hand.

At the back, there’s vertically-shaped dual camera module in the centre with a single LED flash and the fingerprint sensor below it. The chrome tint around these and the central symmetry adds a definite visual appeal.

Editor’s Pick

Best Nokia phones — what are your options? (September 2018)

Nokia was once the biggest smartphone manufacturer in the world but lost its appeal when it overlooked Android and start making Windows-powered smartphones. Microsoft bought the company in 2013, deciding to kill the Nokia brand …

The company claims that they use an internal die-cast metal structure for enhanced solidity that delivers better strength and premium feel.

The Nokia 3.1 Plus sports a large 6-inch HD+ display with an 18:9 aspect ratio without a notch. The big bright display offers an impressive contrast with pretty good colors. The side bezels are thin but you get thick chunks on the top and bottom.


The Nokia 3.1 Plus comes with a modest specifications sheet. Under the hood, it is powered by the MediaTek Helio P22 octa-core processor with 2GB of RAM as well as 16GB of internal storage.

One of the highlights of the Nokia 3.1 Plus is its large 3,500 mAh battery. According to HMD Global, the smartphone offers two-day battery life which is pretty good for people on the move or those who like to indulge in gaming or binge-watching on Netflix because the large display is perfect for it.

The biggest upgrade for the ‘Plus’ smartphone comes in the camera department. This one now comes with dual camera setup at the back with a 13-megapixel primary sensor with f/2.0 aperture and a 5-megapixel depth sensor with f/2.4 aperture. Up front, there is an 8-megapixel sensor with an AI-enabled bokeh mode.

Display 6-inch HD+ IPS
18:9 aspect ratio
2.5D glass
SoC MediaTek HelioP22 (MT6762 4*2.0GHz +4*1.5GHz)
Storage 16GB e-MMC
MicroSD card support up to 400GB
Cameras Dual primary: 13MP PDAF/F2.0/1.12um
Dual secondary: 5MP BW/FF/F2.4/1.12um Front: 8MP FF/F2.2/1.12um
Flash: Single LED
Battery 3500mAh4, non-removable
5V/2A charger
Sensors Ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, accelerometer, Ecompass, gyroscope, fingerprint sensor
Network LTE Cat. 4, L+L, VoLTE, VoWiFi
Connectivity 802.11 b/g/n,BT 4.1, GPS/AGPS+GLONASS+BDS+Galileo
Software Android 8.1 Oreo
Android One
Dimensions and weight 156.68 x 76.44 x 8.19mm; 180g
Colors Blue, White, Baltic

Android One

Nokia 3.1 Plus

Like other phones in HMD Global’s recent portfolio, the Nokia 3.1 Plus is an Android One smartphone. Out of the box, it ships with Android 8.1 Oreo and offers a clean, stock Android experience.

Android One certification means the smartphone will receive two years of guaranteed Android “letter” upgrades and three years of monthly security updates. It’s likely to receive Android Pie soon and will also get Android Q, whenever that happens.

Pricing and Availability

Nokia 3.1 Plus

In India, the Nokia 3.1 Plus comes in three color variants – Blue, White, and Baltic – at a recommended best buy price of 11,499 rupees ($155) across top mobile retailers in India and on starting October 19.

On paper, the Nokia 3.1 Plus definitely has a few things going for it – stock Android, good design, and dual cameras – and will be available in the offline market. And that’s the reason it would fall short of spec-by-spec comparisons with other smartphones in the segment which are only sold online and hence can be priced very competitively.

What do you think of the Nokia 3.1 Plus, and would you like to pick one up? Tell us your thoughts in the comments. We’ll, of course, take a deep dive and bring you a comprehensive review of the smartphone soon.


Third-generation Chromecast review: 1080p is the new baseline

Google announced a bunch of products at its 2018 hardware event, but it wasn’t all that surprising — just about everything leaked out in the weeks leading up to the event.

We even saw a device leak out that wasn’t even shown on stage. A few weeks before the event, Best Buy started accidentally selling the third-generation Chromecast. After the event wrapped up, the new Chromecast appeared on the Google Store and a few other retailers’ websites. Now that it’s shipping and we’ve had some time to use it, here is our 2018 Google Chromecast review.

The hardware

Third-gen Chromecast
Third-gen Chromecast

Looking at the new Chromecast, the design of the player hasn’t changed much compared to the outgoing model. The body of the device is still a puck-like shape that includes an attached HDMI cable. Additionally, Google decided to keep the streaming player’s MicroUSB port used to power the device instead of upgrading to USB Type-C. There’s still a small button for manually resetting it, and a LED light that indicates the Chromecast’s state.

There are minor changes, but they’re almost all on the surface layer. While the newer hardware is slightly thicker to accommodate the updated internals, it’s not a difference most people will notice. Besides that, the glossy finish on the body of the Chromecast has been swapped out for a matte texture, and the Chrome logo that was stamped onto the device has been replaced with Google’s “G” icon. 

Another minute change that doesn’t affect the device at all is the removal of the Chrome logo from the included AC wall adaptor.

The software

Third-gen Chromecast
Third-gen Chromecast

Compared to the second-gen Chromecast, there are two software changes: support for multi-room audio and the ability to playback content at 1080p 60fps. The first change is fantastic if you’re someone like me who owns multiple Google Assistant speakers and/or Chromecast Audio devices and like to simultaneously play music in every room of my house. With the feature becoming available on the Chromecast, you’ll be able to add your TVs into your audio group. 

Unfortunately, this feature is not yet live so we couldn’t test it, but it should be available later this year. 

The most prominent change is support for 1080p 60fps playback. Believe it for not, the last Chromecast was announced over three years ago and has been limited to 720p this entire time. In a world in which more content is moving towards 4k, it seems pretty astonishing that Google’s baseline streaming device only now supports Full HD. 

Other than those two additions, the third-gen Chromecast works identically to all of its predecessors. Once it’s set up, the device’s home screen will slowly move between various photos and points of interest and playback controls still remain on your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Editor’s Pick

15 best Chromecast apps for Android

The Chromecast is probably the most popular video streaming device of all time. Even though it’s a small piece of hardware, it allows you to connect your TV to practically anything else in the house …

Here’s how it works: once you’ve found something you want to watch either online or within an app, tap on the cast icon, choose which Chromecast you want to watch the content on, and the video should appear on screen within a couple of seconds.

Remember, even though you selected the video on whatever device you have with you, that content isn’t being sent to the Chromecast directly. By telling the video to cast, you’re directing the Chromecast to pull the video from that location.

So, should you buy it?

Google’s Chromecast is a product that you either love or you hate. For people like me who always have an electronic device nearby, the ease of use is a clear benefit. At any point, I can look down at my phone, find something I want to watch, and send it to my TV. But for some people, the extra step of casting content from one device to the other adds complication to the television-watching experience.

So if you do prefer to have something with a remote that allows you to scroll through and select something to watch, then you should check out the Nvidia Shield TV or another Android TV-powered set-top box. With these, you can download video apps and games while also retaining the ability to cast content to your big screen from other devices just like with a Chromecast. 

Read next: Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL hands-on

If you already own the second-gen Chromecast, the decision to get the new model is a bit tricky. You’re getting a modest video quality upgrade going from 720p to 1080p, but as I mentioned previously, a lot of content out there is already moving towards 4k. So, in a way, you’re already putting yourself at a disadvantage going forward. 

Fortunately, Google does make the Chromecast Ultra which supports 4k playback. Unfortunately, it costs $70, which is double the cost of the third-gen Chromecast. This plus the fact that competitors like Roku have streaming devices that can handle 4k content for as low as $40 makes the decision even more complicated. 

If you’re interested in picking up the third-gen Chromecast for yourself, you can do so by clicking on one of the buttons below. While the streaming device is available from the Google Store in both chalk and charcoal for $35, Best Buy and Walmart currently appear to only sell the charcoal variant. But as I’ve already mentioned to several people, the colorway shouldn’t matter too much as the Chromecast will be plugged into the back of your TV and you’ll never see it again. 

Best Buy


Google Store


Are you switching from the Galaxy Note 9 to the Pixel 3 XL?

Samsung and Google both brought their A-game this year.

Google’s Pixel 3 XL is the latest big Android flagship to hit the scene, but it’s far from the only large phone that’s been released this year. Perhaps one of its biggest competitors is the excellent Samsung Galaxy Note 9.


The Note 9’s starting price is $100 more than that of the Pixel 3 XL’s but comes with double the base storage. It also brings dual rear cameras, an Infinity Display with no notch, and the iconic S Pen.

We’re impressed with what Google’s done with the 3 XL, but is it enough to sway Note 9 users to jump ship? Here’s what some of our AC forum members have to say.

avatar3043574_1.gifMr Segundus
10-09-2018 01:18 PM

LOL no. The most premium configuration of the Pixel 3 XL only has 128GB of storage and 4GB of RAM.


avatar1170236_1.gifCarrie Greicar
10-09-2018 01:27 PM

I decided to try it out. I love my note 9 but I get the poorest reception where I work. I figured i’d try out the pixel, see how it works and if nothing else only cost me a $35 restock fee to check.


10-09-2018 04:39 PM

Nope. Had a Nexus 5 for a short while back in their day. Had a Pixel 2XL for a short while when it came out. Both were nice devices but not really for me. Not giving up the feature rich Note.


10-09-2018 06:20 PM

Honestly I wasnt even remotely interested. I love the Note line.


What about you? Will you be switching from the Note 9 to the Pixel 3 XL?

Join the conversation in the forums!

Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL

  • Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL hands-on preview
  • Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL: Everything you need to know!
  • Google Pixel 3 vs. Pixel 3 XL: Which should you buy?
  • Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL specifications
  • Join our Pixel 3 forums

Best Buy
Project Fi


The best Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL accessories so far

Get started on the right track with your new Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL.

The Pixel 3 and 3 XL is finally here, and first impressions seem to be pretty positive. If you’re among those pre-ordering yours, you might want to start thinking about the best accessories to pair with your new phone. Some of the best available accessories including the new Google Pixel Stand or USB-C Pixel earbuds available exclusively through the Google Store — convenient when you’re pre-ordering your phone — but the best cases and value can be found in the highlighted third-party accessories.

Wirelessly charge in style

Google Pixel Stand


The Google Pixel Stand is more than a wireless charging stand — it’s designed by Google to turn your phone into a bedside alarm clock that does more thanks to Google Assistant. You’ll also be able to enjoy a slideshow of your best photos as your phone charges.

$79 at Google Store

More power!

Google 18W USB-C Power Adapter


For the fastest wired charging times, you’re going to need Google’s 18W USB-C Power Adapter. You may already own a couple of these beauties if you’ve owned previous Pixel phones, but if not, it’s always great to have a spare kicking around.

$35 at Google Store

Backup buds

Google Pixel USB-C earbuds


A less ambitious, wired version of the Pixel Buds, these USB-C earbuds let you control Google Assistant and access notifications and more without breaking your stride to look at your Pixel 3. You get a pair included with the phone, but for this price, you may want a backup pair!

$30 at Google Store

All-in for Google

Google Fabric Case


Google introduced its fabric cases last year with the Pixel 2 series and is bringing it back for another round with the Pixel 3. There are multiple fabric designs to choose from, each with its one distinct look. These cases are on the pricey side, but they’re well, well worth it.

$40 at Google Store

Thin protector

Spigen Thin Fit


The Spigen Thin Fit case is a perfect choice if you want to keep your Pixel 3 looking nice without adding too much bulk. This minimalist case offers good protection against regular wear and tear, and should defend against an accidental drop — but keep in mind the top and bottom front edges exposed. Also available for the Pixel 3 XL.

$12 at Amazon

Clearly a good choice

Spigen Liquid Crystal


For those who love to show off their new phones without compromising on protection, the Spigen Liquid Crystal clear case is a go-to option. This case delivers added protection where it matters most — the edges and corners of the phone — without adding too much extra bulk. Also available for the Pixel 3 XL.

$12 at Amazon

Sleek and rugged

Ringke Onyx


What’s not to love about this case’s design? Ringke offers this slim one-piece TPU case that looks great and includes a lanyard hole for those requiring extra peace of mind. Affordably priced and designed to protect your Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL.

$9 at Amazon

Charge on the go

Belkin USB-C Car Charger


Available in your choice of a hardwired USB-C cable that includes a second USB-A port or a single USB-C port. This car charger is offered in the Google Store for $35 — but you can get it for $10 less on Amazon. Trusted by Google and backed by a Belkin equipment warranty.

$27 at Amazon

Protect that screen

Mr Shield Tempered Glass Screen Protector 3-pack


The Google Store has a $45 premium tempered glass screen protector that’s not yet available. We’ll hedge our bets and recommend the Mr Shield 3-pack of tempered glass screen protectors. With a lifetime replacement warranty and this price, how can you lose? Also available for the Pixel 3 XL.

$7 at Amazon

We’ll be sure to update this list with more verified awesomeness as the weeks roll on and the phones start to get into more people’s hands. If protection is your main concern you should pick out a case and order a tempered glass screen protector now so that you’re ready for daily use and abuse from day one.


UK Daily Deals: Hive + Free Echo Dot bundles, Fire HD 10, soundbars, more

Whether you’re looking for new tech gear or household items, we’ve got you covered.

We found plenty of great deals today on Hive Smart Thermostats including free Amazon Echo Dots, certified refurb Amazon Fire HD 10 tablets, Anker soundbars, Philips 4K TVs, and much more!

View the rest of the deals

Each day, the Thrifter UK team scouts out and shares amazing deals on products you know and love, helping you find the best prices on the ‘net.

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


Freedom Mobile is rolling out RCS support for Android Messages

You’ll need to be running Android 5.0 or later with Android Messages v3.6 or newer.


Since iMessage won’t be coming to Android anytime soon, Google’s been hard at work to build up its own version of the popular messaging service using RCS technology and its excellent Android Messages app. On Thursday, October 11, Freedom Mobile announced that it’s now rolling out RCS features for its subscribers.

If you’re on Freedom Mobile and use Android Messages, this means your basic SMS texting is about to get a big upgrade. You’ll be able to see when people are typing, know when someone’s seen your message, send higher-quality photos + video, have group chats that don’t suck, and more.

Out with the old, in with the new.Take your texting game to the next level with @Google Rich Communication Services for Android, rolling out to all compatible devices over the coming weeks. 👏

— Freedom Mobile (@FreedomMobile) October 10, 2018

The person you’re talking to will also need to be using Android Messages on a network that supports RCS in order for this to work, and Freedom Mobile says it should be available for all compatible phones “over the coming weeks.”

To get RCS set up, you’ll need to have a phone running Android 5.0 or later and make sure that your Android Messages app is updated to at least v3.6. To check and see if everything’s working, open Android Messages, tap the three-dot menu icon, and go to Settings -> Advanced -> Chat Features -> Enable chat features.

Google ‘Chat’: Everything you need to know


Here are the PlayStation VR games we want to play

There is a lot to be excited about this year. Here are some of our favorites


Out of all the amazing VR technology out there, in terms of adoption, the PlayStation VR reigns supreme. With an incredibly low entry price, the PSVR is an excellent way to get into room scale VR. After all, you only need a PS4 or PS4 Pro to play, and there are a lot of people with those already.

Every month there is something new for the PlayStation VR, and we’ve already seen some amazing games come to the platform. But we want more — these are the forthcoming games we’re excited for!

PS4 Slim vs. PS4 Pro: Which Should You Buy?

Blood and Truth

Blood and Truth is one of the most exciting releases on PlayStation VR. It takes everything we want in video games — fast-paced action, puzzles, and a great storyline — and puts you into the game in VR.

Based in London, you can expect a dark, gritty game full of swearing and very bad accents, as we join in the adventures of an ex-soldier in a revenge story as old as time. I can’t wait.

Beat Saber

If you have been interested in VR at all over the last year, you will have seen Beat Saber everywhere. A mix of Guitar Hero-style beat games and straight-up Jedi lightsaber action, this game is, on paper, awesome personified.

While we still don’t have a release date for the PlayStation VR version, there is a lot of coverage of the game over at Windows Central for you to check out and get jazzed up with. This feels like a game I could spend a lot of time with to get fit.

Everything we know about Beat Saber


There is a lot of mystery around Golem. First seen several years ago, this fascinating puzzle/action game has been delayed more times than I would wish.

I am still holding out hope, though, that Golem will arrive on the PlayStation VR sooner rather than later and we can enjoy some giant magic robot fighting!


Update October 9: Sony has announced that Megalith will debut on the PSVR on January 8, 2019 with an early access free trial starting on November 13, 2018. Alongside that, they have a pre-order discount and exclusive skins when you do pre-order.

The premise of Megalith seems simple enough. You are a Titan trying to kill other Titans for the prize of becoming a god. It sounds like a lot of fun, and the art style makes me even more excited to play it.


We don’t have a release date or much to go other than a cryptic launch video and a few hands-on accounts, but Dreams looks to be one of the more unique games to come to VR.

It appears to be a mix of platformer, 3D designer, and video game designer all rolled into one, where you can create anything and everything you could want in a game. I love the idea that you will be able to make your own games inside a VR world and I’m looking forward to seeing what the amazing creators out there come up with.

What about you?

What are you most excited for on the list of upcoming games for the PlayStation VR? Let me know in the comments, and while you’re there tell me what you are enjoying on PSVR right now.

PlayStation 4


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


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