[ Gizmodo ] Amazon accidentally went live with a page for iPhone 7 cases, accessories, and Bluetooth headphones. In one of the case photos — a Speck case to be more specific — the iPhone 7 has dual cameras. Other smartphones already feature dual cameras to enhance photo quality.
The LG G5 has two cameras. One is a regular 16 megapixel camera but the second camera is a 135-degree wide angle lens. The Huawei P9 pairs the second camera with a monochrome image sensor, which can capture more detail. Both photos are later combined.
It seems Apple will be announcing at least one iPhone 7 model — most likely the iPhone 7 Plus — with dual cameras. But how Apple will use the second camera to enhance photos is still a mystery.
Update: Confirmed. The iPhone 7 Plus has dual cameras. Two 12 megapixel cameras. One has a wide angle and the other has a 56mm telephoto lens. With dual cameras you can now 2x zoom, optically. With up to 10x digital zoom. I wonder how good the digital zoom is.
Digitally generated bokeh is available in Portrait mode. Looks impressive. This feature will come with an update later.
[ TreeHugger ] According to Pew Research Center’s survey that was conducted on March 7 through April 4, 2016 called “Book Reading 2016”:
I read both print and digital books. Digital books I read are books I don’t plan to read completely, books that don’t require a lot of sustained focus. The print books I purchase and borrow from public libraries are books I plan to read from beginning to end. These books are books I not only want to read but to study and learn.
I prefer the experience of paper books. Not all paper, but good quality paper and books that are hard bound or leather bound. The physical experience of holding a paper book and flipping good quality pages as I read is superb. But I will say gliding my finger over smooth slick glass, reading on a display with millions of pixels I can’t distinguish is great too. I usually don’t mark up my paper books unless they are textbook or textbook-like books, but I almost always highlight and add notes on my e-books. Now let me tell you something: searching for my highlights or notes is something I seldom do, but the smart folks who study retention, learning, etc. say it helps when you read with a pen, pencil, or stylus. I think I remember better when I read paper books.
But 26% read no books?
[ 9to5Mac ] KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo is speculating the upcoming iPhone 7 will sport the same sizes — 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch — but with a display like that of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro had two distinct features: a wider color gamut and what Apple calls True Tone. This is what Apple says about 9.7-inch iPad Pro’s wider color gamut display:
The 9.7-inch iPad Pro display uses the same color space as the digital cinema industry. This wider color gamut gives iPad Pro up to 25 percent greater color saturation than previous iPad models. So colors are more vivid, true to life, and engaging.
Greater color saturation is not always a good thing, especially when the colors are more saturated than what is seen in nature, a problem — called oversaturation — most OLED displays had in their infancy. Many Samsung smartphones with OLED displays still have oversaturated colors the default setting. If you own one my recommendation is to change the display setting called Screen Mode from AMOLED Photo or AMOLED Cinema to Basic Screen Mode. I’ve found Basic Screen Mode to provide the most accurate colors. From what Apple has done with color accuracy on the iPhone I don’t think we’ll see a display that oversaturates colors. But I do hope we’ll see a way to color calibrate the display. Unlikely yes, but a guy can wish. And what’s a True Tone display?
It uses advanced four-channel ambient light sensors to automatically adapt the color and intensity of the display to match the light in your environment. Which means reading is more natural and comfortable — almost like looking at a sheet of paper.
By figuring out the brightness and color of the environment the iPad’s True Tone feature adjusts the brightness and color of the display to match the environment making it a lot easier on your eyes. This is a great feature and I’m glad it’s coming to the iPhone.
Update 2016.09.07: Wide color gamut display on the iPhone 7 is confirmed.
[ Acer ] Okay, the Acer Predator 21 X is insane. First, a 21-inch display on a laptop? And it’s curved. Second, the display is powered by two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 GPUs.
The 21-inch NVIDIA G-Sync’ed display will sport a wide color gamut IPS panel, be matte, and feature a pixel format of 2560×1080. Ah, matte, welcome back. The only thing I’d change about the display: make it 4K/UHD. Dual GTX 1080’s can push every one of those pixels at stratospheric framerates.
The Acer Predator 21 X is beastly — performance as well as looks — but those mechanical keys look lovely.
With an estimated price of around, some say US$4000 others more, you’ll be emptying out your bank account starting in the first quarter of 2017.
[ Bloomberg ] Mark Gurman and Jungah Lee:
In addition to the new Macs, Apple is working on a new standalone monitor to connect to its computers, according to the people. After exiting the monitor business earlier this year with the discontinuation of the 27-inch Thunderbolt display, Apple is working with LG Electronics on a new monitor with a high-resolution “5K” screen, according to one of the people. Apple currently sells an iMac with a built-in 5K panel, which includes over seven times as many pixels as standard 1080p displays.
LG Electronics or LGE might be Apple’s integrator for the rumored 27-inch 5K monitor, but I think it’s not LGE whose working with Apple. Most likely Foxconn or some other company with massive manufacturing facilities in China will actually integrate or build the monitor. Where ‘LG’ comes in is with the display itself: the 27-inch 5K LCD panel. That panel will most likely be manufactured by LG Display or LGD.
Apple is expected to unveil a new iPhone, probably iPhone 7, on September 7 in San Francisco along with some other devices, such as a 27-inch 5K monitor, a new Apple Watch 2, and maybe some new Macs.
[ MacRumors ] Joe Rossignol:
Thomas Davidson of Pennsylvania, Todd Cleary of California, and Jun Bai of Delaware have filed a class action lawsuit against Apple over an alleged defect that causes iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus touchscreens to become unresponsive and fail, according to court documents filed electronically this week.
Alleged defect? I don’t think so; see for yourself: iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Unresponsive Touchscreen. There have been more than a few Touch Diseased iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners who have had terrible experiences.
There are consequences when your overarching goal is to make the iPhone thinner. A metal shield over the touchscreen controller chips would have made it more difficult for that part of the logic board to bend, when the iPhone bends. (Read the article linked above for a more detailed analysis of why the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus touchscreen becomes unresponsive.) But the added metal shield adds thickness. When thinness becomes more important than some other considerations, which should actually more important, users suffer from bad experiences.
What did Apple do to solve this problem in the iPhone 6s and the 6s Plus? Apple moved those controller chips somewhere else, to the display assembly to be specific.
[ iFixit ] Julia Bluff:
Replacing the touchscreen doesn’t fix the problem. The gray bar eventually shows up on the new screen, too. Because, according to repair pros, the problem isn’t the screen at all. It’s the two touchscreen controller chips, or Touch IC chips, on the logic board inside the phone.
These two chips are: U2402 Meson and Cumulus U2401. Some micro-soldering professional seem to think the U2402 touchscreen controller chips have a manufacturing defect. But most think it’s because the small solder balls that connect the touch IC chips to the logic board start to lose contact with the board. Why? Because it’s easy to. Cured underfill beneath chips help secure solder balls, but there are none for the touch IC chips in the iPhone 6 and the 6 Plus. And there isn’t a strong metal shield over the chips to prevent bending, which is what the iPhone 6 and especially the iPhone 6 Plus do. When the iPhones bend the logic board does too and eventually loosens the IC chip connections to the logic board. When that happens you have an unresponsive touchscreen.
The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are immune to what’s called Touch Disease, because these touch IC chips were moved off the logic board and into the display assembly.
So how do you fix your Touch Diseased iPhone 6 or 6 Plus? First, if your iPhone is still within the warranty period, take it to Apple and do your best to upgrade to the 6s or 6s Plus. If you’re out of warranty, find an independent repair shop that can do board-level micro-soldering and has experience fixing Touch Disease. Make sure the two touch IC chips are replaced with new ones. Some shops are covering the chips with a strong metal shield to prevent bending. Here are the repair shops that were mentioned in the iFixit article:
Apple’s design schedule for the iPhone has been relatively simple: the non-‘s’ versions have new designs and the ‘s’ versions enhance the internals. Brand new designs are new and no matter how hard Apple works at it Apple can’t get all the kinks out. So my recommendation is to go with ‘s’ versions of iPhones if you can; they tend to have less problems.
But that might require you to wait a really long time for a new iPhone because rumor has it the new iPhone scheduled to be introduced on September 7 will be called iPhone 7 and the next one will be iPhone 8. No iPhone 7s this time around. I don’t know if I’ll be able to, but if I want to minimize the chances of having hardware problems like Touch Disease, I’ll have to stick with my iPhone 6s until iPhone 8s comes out in 2018.
[ MacRumors ] Apple will now fix your iPhone 6 Plus with an unresponsive touchscreen, for $149. And it’s your fault — for dropping your iPhone 6 Plus multiple times on a hard surface and putting stress on it. From what I can tell, Apple doesn’t seem to be owning up to the fact that the internal design of the iPhone 6 Plus looks like they were developed by first-year interns and prone to causing defects, compared to the highly professional and sturdy design of iPhone 5s.
My theory is: Apple put too much emphasis on making the device thinner and lighter. Because of that focus all other considerations were secondary.
[ Engadget ] Devindra Hardawar:
The X1 Yoga’s OLED display doesn’t waste any time impressing you. The red border around Lenovo’s logo has an almost electric feel upon boot-up, and that carries over to everything in Windows. OLED displays are known for their bold colors and deep black levels, and this one doesn’t disappoint. Watching videos and perusing photos is a revelatory experience. OLED adds an enormous amount of depth to images that makes them seem almost three-dimensional.
With a resolution of 2,560 by 1,440 (1440p/2K), the X1 Yoga’s OLED screen is significantly sharper than a 1080p display, though it’s not quite 4K. That’s just fine, though, as Windows 10 still isn’t well suited to 4K, and the benefits of such a high resolution are wasted on laptop screens.
Bold colors can often mean blown out colors, over-saturated colors, or unnatural colors. With OLED displays the ability to be color calibrated with a hardware calibration tool seems mandatory. Can you imagine how wonderful colors would be on an OLED display if they were accurate?
With a resolution of 210 ppi, 2560×1440 on a 14-inch display is plenty. But to say 4K is wasted on laptop screens? Now that’s a stretch. Not one pixel on a theoretical 17-inch MacBook Pro with 3840×2160 (259 ppi) would go wasted.
Unfortunately, I was disappointed by the Thinkpad X1’s battery life. It lasted only around 4.5 hours during typical usage, and I always had to recharge it in the afternoons. In our battery test, which involves playing an HD video continuously at 50 percent brightness, it lasted 8.5 hours. It’s likely just far more efficient at handling video than a plethora of different programs running at once.
Not surprising. You get much more battery life when watching videos on an OLED display than a LCD because: Videos overall are generally darker than websites or office applications like Microsoft Office. The darker the screen the less energy is consumed by OLEDs. On the other hand edge-lit LCDs, which are most LCDs, are always on whether or not the content is dark or not. So if you’re a movie buff, want to get totally immersed in your movies, and still have some battery leftover, a notebook with an OLED display will not disappoint.
[ Engadget ] Devindra Hardawar:
As for VR, the RX 480 delivered a solid experience without much slowdown. It didn’t matter if I was dogfighting in Eve: Valkyrie, exploring alien worlds in Farlands or platforming in Lucky’s Tale. I kept a particular eye out for stuttering or anything that could lead to motion sickness but couldn’t detect any major issues. AMD wasn’t lying: This is a VR-ready card.
The Radeon RX 480 comes in two VRAM configurations: 4GB ($200) and 8GB ($239). Hardawar reviewed the 8GB version and recommends investing the extra $39 for a smoother VR experience. Note: The 8GB version uses faster RAM.
HTC’s VR minimum hardware recommendations are as follows:
Here’s a YouTube video by DigitalFoundry comparing the GeForce GTX 970 vs. the Radeon RX 480:
As you can see the Radeon RX 480 outperforms the GeForce GTX 970, which is impressive considering the street price of the GTX 970 with 4GB is about $300.
[ Variety ] Todd Spangler:
NBC is leaning into virtual reality — the hot tech flavor of the moment — with plans to pump out some 85 hours of VR programming for the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
The VR content, the first time Olympics coverage will be presented in virtual-reality experiences, will be available exclusively on Samsung devices. And sorry, tech-forward cord-cutters: NBC will make the Olympics in VR available only to pay-TV subscribers of participating cable and satellite operators.
I’m a VR newb. I took my oldest and hopped on over to a local Best Buy to play around with the latest gadgets: noise-cancellation wireless over-ear headphones, smartphones, laptops, AIOs, 4K TVs, refrigerators, washing machines & dryers, etc. We agreed Beats sucks and Bose rocks, and that 4K content looks weird. The Avengers was on and Captain America looked downright silly, because his costume was so obviously a costume. Too much detail can be a bad thing when it comes to watching movies. We also agreed our Sony Trinitron HD CRT TV made watching movies enjoyable because the experience was like watching movies.
Another thing we agreed on was the Samsung Galaxy-based Gear VR system: it was really cool. Gear VR is not expensive: just US$100. If you already have the latest Samsung Galaxy smartphone — like the Note 5, S6 and S7 — Gear VR is a no-brainer if you want to play around with VR without spending a lot of money. At one point in the demo, I was flying through space. I looked down, and for a split second thought I would fall. Yeah, told you I was a VR newb.
I like that NBC and Samsung want to pull in folks who are interested in VR with the 2016 Olympics, but it also limits the availability of VR to only the latest Samsung Galaxy smartphone users with cable and satellite. (Although I think cord-cutters with services like Sling TV might be able to get credentialed at some cable and satellite websites.) I’m going to guess there will be a lot of bootlegged porting of NBC’s Olympic VR content to other VR systems.
[ Stereogum ] Collin Robinson:
So that might be OK… assuming the technology is only used at concerts and doesn’t extend to, like, disabling phone cameras during instances of police brutality and/or sociopolitical/religious unrest.
Apple works with a lot of music companies and I’m certain some of those companies have complained loudly that concert goers have been bootlegging or live streaming concerts. I don’t know how rampant this is, but I’m sure music companies want to stop it and want Apple’s help. I wouldn’t mind a geo-fenced camera disable feature on my iPhone when it comes to concerts. I haven’t gone to a concert in many years, but I’ve seen concert videos with hundreds of phone screens. What a terrible way to experience a concert.
[ Road To VR ] Ben Lang:
Chrome Dev (one extra step back in development from Beta) now contains a ‘VR Shell’ setting which Google’s Chromium Evangelist François Beaufort says “enable[s] a browser shell for VR” which “allows users to browse the web while using Cardboard or Daydream-ready viewers.” Both options are available in the browser’s Flags page, accessed by entering chrome://flags in the URL bar.
Very early stages for browsing the web in VR. For VR internet browsing to catch on the web will need to morph, from the current 2D concept of pages to something like a 3D concept of spaces. AR — augmented reality where relevant information is placed over images and videos — will probably become an important way we browse the internet in VR.
[ Apple ] The 27-inch Thunderbolt Display sports a pixel format of 2560×1440 for US$999. That’s expensive. If you’re a color professional looking for a 27-inch IPS monitor there are better (color bit depth, color gamut, color accuracy, etc.) more affordable options, like the $800 Dell UP2716D UltraSharp 27-inch monitor.
[ iMore ] Rene Ritchie:
Apple is discontinuing the Thunderbolt Display, the standard resolution, external IPS monitor the company has been selling since 2011. An Apple spokesperson provided us with the following statement:
“We’re discontinuing the Apple Thunderbolt Display,” Apple told iMore. “It will be available through Apple.com, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers while supplies last. There are a number of great third-party options available for Mac users.”
The 5K iMac makes it clear Apple is moving away from 2560×1440 and toward 5120×2880 at 27 inches. Will Apple come out with a standalone 27-inch 5K monitor? My bet is on yes. The reason is the Mac Pro, and to a lesser extent the MacBook Pro. The Mac Pro doesn’t come with a monitor, and a good monitor makes a big difference in our computing experience, especially when it comes to processing videos and photographs.
I believe Apple is serious about user experience so I think Apple will come out with an excellent 27-inch 5K 5120×2880 monitor to pair with a Mac Pro or a MacBook Pro. The macOS user experience depends on it.
Before Tesla, electric cars had some deficiencies:
After Tesla’s Roadster, Model S and Model X, electric cars were no longer slow. In fact the Model S P90D, the performance model with dual electric motors, can get to 60 mph in just 2.8 seconds with a “Ludicrous Speed Upgrade”. Only supercars like these are faster (0-60 mph times in seconds):
There are no ‘normal’ cars that can beat the Model S P90D from 0 to 60 mph. I think we can clearly cross off that electric cars are slow.
There were slow.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, yes, but I think most would agree the Roadster, the Model S, and the Model X are prettier than the average car. Most other EVs are still on the ugly side of the spectrum.
There weren’t pretty.
Many electric cars still have limited ranges. Here are some examples, in miles (Source: Plugin Cars):
With ranges like these this list of electric cars can only be used sparingly and most likely for local commuting. On colder days the range will decrease quite a bit. But on the list are three three electric cars that have enough range to go from San Jose to San Francisco to Berkeley and back to San Jose, with some battery left over:
Yes, the range can be better — you’ll want a regular gas-powered car to go on long trips without having to stop every 200 miles to refuel — but I think a lot of us can live our daily lives with a 200-mile range car. I think it’s safe to delete the severely limited range deficiency:
Their range was severely limited.
Electric cars took a long time to recharge their batteries. Let’s go back to the list. I’ll put two recharge time: one at 110/120V and the other at 220/240V, both in hours. Most homes in the U.S. have 110/120V, but you can install special 220/240V outlets to charge your electric car.
Don’t even think about charging your EV with a 110/120V outlet. Install a 220/240V outlet and you’ll save thousands of hours of charge time.
Tesla’s EVs come with a variety of battery capacities. With the 85-kwh battery — a battery much larger than all of the aforementioned EVs — a 220/240V outlet will charge it in about 10 hours. Tesla’s Supercharger can charge it in just one hour. It takes some planning to get to a Supercharger station right when you want to eat lunch or dinner, but 3+ hours of charging time down to just one is a lot of improvement. But if you’re not on a road trip the charging happens while you’re sleeping and by the time you’re ready to head off to work the next morning your EV will be fully charged, assuming you installed a 220/240V outlet. Of course, charging time still takes too long if you compare it to about the 5 minutes it takes to refuel a car with gasoline. Recharge time gets crossed off with a note*: Supercharger or when you’re charging at 220/240V while you sleep.
They took a long time to recharge.*
Fast, pretty, with a long range, and a short charge time. Only Tesla’s Model S and the Model X have all these features. The Chevrolet Bolt has a long range, but fast and pretty it is not. The upcoming Model 3 though is all of that: Tesla announced 0-60 mph times at less than 6 seconds for the base Model 3 model. Not ludicrous fast, but pretty fast for a base model. I’m certain if there was a P90D version of the Model 3 that it would be one of if not the fastest $35,000 car you can buy. The Model 3 is also one more: The Model 3 is affordable at US$35,000. Yes there are affordable EVs on the list, but none that has it all.
They were too expensive.
I believe Tesla’s Model 3 is/will be a tipping point.
[ TechCrunch ] Lucas Matney:
Today, the company introduced Lytro Cinema, which is the company’s effort to woo those in the television and film industries with cool camera technology that makes their jobs easier.
The Lytro Cinema camera gathers a truly staggering amount of information on the world around it. The 755 RAW megapixel 40K resolution, 300 FPS camera takes in as much as 400 gigabytes per second of data.
Lytro is a company in the business of capturing light fields. What’s a light field? According to Wikipedia:
The light field is a vector function that describes the amount of light flowing in every direction through every point in space. The direction of each ray is given by the 5D plenoptic function, and the magnitude of each ray is given by the radiance.
What that means to me is a light field is light plus the direction the light is going. Capturing a light field means capturing depth information in addition to all the information a normal image sensor captures. Another way for me to understand capturing light fields is that with the Lytro Cinema 3D VR spaces are being captured.
Lytro is pivoting from consumer electronics to professional with the Lytro Cinema, which gives filmmakers flexibility not available before and allows for changing shutter speeds, the dynamic range, focus position, depth of field, etc. after footage has been captured. Amazing.
[ Polygraph ] Amazing research, intensely detailed with data beautifully animated and visualized by Hanah Anderson and Matt Daniels:
But it’s all rhetoric and no data, which gets us nowhere in terms of having an informed discussion. How many movies are actually about men? What changes by genre, era, or box-office revenue? What circumstances generate more diversity?
To begin answering these questions, we Googled our way to 8,000 screenplays and matched each character’s lines to an actor. From there, we compiled the number of words spoken by male and female characters across roughly 2,000 films, arguably the largest undertaking of script analysis, ever.
Every element represents something meaningful; nothing went to waste. I think Edward Tufte would be proud of this work.
[ Ars Technica ] Andrew Cunningham:
For instance, the screen’s DCI P3 color gamut (a feature originally implemented in the most recent 4K and 5K iMacs) means it can display deeper and more accurate shades of green and red, but it’s not nearly as impactful as the switch from a non-Retina display to a Retina one or even the switch from the original iPad Air’s non-laminated display to the Air 2’s laminated one. The screen’s brightness goes up to about 500 nits, a nice increase from the 400-or-so nits of the big iPad Pro and the Air 2. However, if you’re not outside or in harsh light, you won’t need the screen to be quite that bright.
The True Tone feature is subtle but easier to appreciate. The screen has “four-channel ambient light sensors” that detect not just the brightness of ambient light, but also the color of that light. This subtly changes the display’s white point, making it more orangey in warm light and more bluish under cool light. This feature makes the iPad’s screen more accurately resemble a sheet of paper.
Okay, let’s summarize what the 9.7-inch iPad Pro brings to the table:
Even without the ability to use Apple Pencil, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro’s screen has enough improvements to be enticing to those who need a portable color-accurate screen.
[ Bloomberg ] Pavel Alpeyev, Takashi Amano, and Shigeru Sato:
The parent of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. is paying 389 billion yen ($3.5 billion) for a controlling stake in Sharp, a drop of 100 billion yen from an agreement forged a month ago. As a result, Foxconn and its affiliates will get 66 percent of the Japanese company for 88 yen per share, both companies said in statements on Wednesday.
Foxconn at the moment is a giant contract manufacturer of electronics products; Apple’s iPhones for example are built by Foxconn. Is Foxconn becoming a vertically integrated consumer electronics brand? That would be interesting.
The world’s CE brands outsource their manufacturing to companies like Foxconn. But what would happen if one of the largest contract manufacturers start to compete with the same CE brands they manufacture for? At half the price? Bloodshed.
Foxconn knows how to make things and make them well; think iPhone-level quality manufacturing, at half the price.
[ MacStories ] Federico Viticci:
The 29W USB-C power adapter with fast charging on the iPad Pro isn’t only capable of quickly charging an iPad Pro while its screen is turned off – most notably, it can both sustain and power the device considerably while it’s working hard used at full brightness. The 29W adapter is remarkably consistent in battery gains in a variety of conditions and it dramatically reduces the amount of time required to charge the iPad Pro.
The iPad Pro takes a long time to charge: 3.5 hours to 80% using the included 12W power adapter. But use the MacBook’s 29W USB-C power adapter, with a USB-C to Lightning cable, and you get to 80% in just 1.5 hours. You save 2 hours every time for $74 ($25 Apple’s 1-meter USB-C to Lightning Cable + $49 Apple’s 29W USB-C Power Adapter). I think it’s worth the investment, especially if you depend on your iPad Pro all day long.
[ Android Police ] Ryan Whitwam:
Many of the cables on sale via Amazon have the wrong resistor, which can cause the cable to draw too much power and damage your ports.
This is a step in the right direction by Amazon, but if you want to be absolutely sure you’re getting a USB Type-C accessory that isn’t going to fry your new MacBook or Pixel C, you need to check out Benson Leung’s USB Type-C reviews on Amazon.