September 22, 2018

Huawei trolled people lining up for the iPhone XS in the best possible way

It’s no surprise to see Apple rivals come up with ways to mock the iPhone just as a new models launch, and the same happened this year. It’s usually Samsung that comes up with anti-iPhone ads that aren’t always funny, but this year, Huawei took to the streets with a different kind of trolling campaign. Huawei representatives hit lines in front of Apple stores, giving iPhone buyers free battery packs. "Here's a power bank. You'll need it. Courtesy of Huawei,” says the box many people received. Reports from Singapore and the Netherlands reveal this was a well-coordinated campaign. The subliminal message is that Huawei phones have better battery life than the latest iPhone, and Huawei is indeed looking to release a new flagship that will pack an even bigger battery than what’s available inside the new iPhones and the best Android alternatives out there. But, as PhoneArena points out the campaign also had an unwanted consequence, with Huawei fans complaining on social media that it’s iPhone users who’re receiving free battery packs instead of actual Huawei consumers. Think about it for a second; the folks who do wait in line in front of Apple stores to buy the latest iPhone are probably the least likely to switch to a Huawei or Samsung device just because of a trolling campaign. And if they’re ever going to experience battery issues with the new devices, they’ll have a Huawei charger close bye. A free Huawei charger. Speaking of trolling, Samsung came up with a special trick of its own that’s worth mentioning, especially if you’re looking to buy Samsung phones in the UK. Per The Sun, the company slashed the price of the Galaxy S9 by £100. The phone costs £639 instead of £739, while the iPhone XS starts at £999.
September 21, 2018

When will the first ‘Avengers 4’ trailer finally be released?

Earlier this week, Disney quietly released the first Captain Marvel trailer, a few days after the marketing campaign started. Captain Marvel hits theaters on March 8th, which is nearly two months before Avengers 4, which has a May 3rd release date set for the US. So now that the first Captain Marvel trailer is out, the first Avengers 4 trailer should follow soon, right? Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige talked to io9 back in June about Marvel’s marketing problem for Avengers 4 — so many heroes have died in Infinity War that they can’t show up in upcoming trailers without spoiling things. At the time, Feige said that dead heroes wouldn’t be used in trailers and teasers, without going into much detail about it. He did say that the marketing campaign for Avengers 4 is likely to start in the fall or winter, though. He did not provide any specifics, admitting that plans could change by the time the campaign begins. “We are working with the greatest marketing team in the world with Disney, so I’m anxious to see how they start to put [the marketing] together,” Feige said at the time. The next event on Marvel’s calendar will be the DVD release of Ant-Man and the Wasp, which is set for October 16th or a couple weeks earlier on October 2nd for the digital version. It’s likely that Marvel won’t want to overlap the first Avengers 4 trailer release with the Ant-Man 2 event, so we’ll probably see the trailer premiere sometime after October 16th. Also, given that the title of Avengers 4 is going to be a spoiler for the movie according to previous statements from Marvel execs, it would make sense to delay the release of the film’s title for as long as possible. With that in mind, a winter release for the first trailer would make the most sense. Captain Marvel’s first trailer came out 171 days before the premiere, and I did the math looking for some patterns. I’m not the only one who has counted days, with a Redditor making the same point:
Marvel trailer was shown 171 days before release. The Super Bowl is 89 days before A4. 171 days before A4 release is November 13. Disney doesn't have a Star Wars movie out this holiday season (but has Mulan). Do we get the name before the teaser?
First of all, Super Bowl might not have anything to do with the trailer. Also, there's no Mulan this year. Finally, Avengers 4 launches on April 24th in France, and a day later in other European markets. If Marvel were to launch the trailer 171 days before the premiere, then November 4th is also a date that should be considered. But Marvel’s previous hits, including Black Panther (123 days) and Infinity War (149 days), did not follow any pattern. And given that Avengers 4 will probably be one of the most anticipated movies in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it would not be surprising to see the first trailer drop in late November, just like it did ahead of Infinity War last year. And yes, when the first trailer arrives, we'll finally learn that title the Russo brothers keep teasing.
September 21, 2018

The iPhone XS has a secret second notch that you’ll never see

It’s iPhone XS launch day, which means we’re learning all the little tidbits about the new iPhones that Apple or in the early reviews never detailed. For starters, the first YouTube drop test shows the iPhone XS is a lot more durable than the iPhone X. We also found out that Apple may have wanted to launch AirPower in time for the iPhone XS's arrival, but that obviously didn't work out. Now, thanks to the teardown everybody was waiting for, we've learned a peculiar little detail about the iPhone XS that comes as a complete surprise. Earlier this week, iPhone XS documentation that Apple filed with a Chinese regulator revealed that the iPhone XS features a battery that’s slightly smaller than last year's iPhone X. Even so, the iPhone XS should last for 30 minutes longer overall than last year’s model. iFixit's just-released teardown of the iPhone XS and XS Max and found the explanation for the smaller battery. The iPhone XS has a single L-shaped battery, while the iPhone XS Max features two battery cells, just like the iPhone X. Here’s a side-by-side comparison, with the iPhone XS placed in the middle between the iPhone X (left) and the iPhone XS Max (right). But if you look closely at the iPhone XS, you'll notice a peculiar hidden notch in the battery. What you see above is an X-ray photo of the three phones, which reveals a strange battery design for the iPhone XS. There's the hidden notch I was talking about. Apple even describes it as a notch in at least one battery design patent. But why does the battery need that notch? iFixit explains:
The challenge with any lithium-polymer battery cell is that each corner needs to be sealed to prevent undue stress from thermal expansion—and since the battery of the XS has 6 sides vs. the traditional 4, those extra corners can be tricky. To reduce the stress on the corners, Apple notched the internal corner of the battery (as described in this 2016 patent). This dramatic shift opens up a lot of design possibilities, but the large notch is responsible for the decrease in capacity relative to the X. Only time will tell how this new cell performs with age.
The teardown, available at this link, also notes that there’s no new evidence of new waterproofing, suggesting Apple may have undersold the iPhone X’s water ingress protection. Also, Apple has designed a brand new chip, the Apple 338S00456 found inside the Max model, which is a power management processor. The new iPhones get the same repairability score as the iPhone X, which is 6 out of a maximum of 10. Cracking the rear glass is the most annoying thing that can happen to your phone because fixing it requires dismantling the entire phone. Maybe that’s why it’s so expensive.
September 21, 2018

Pixel 3 XL accessories are already on sale at Walmart

Earlier this week, a Chinese online retailer listed the unreleased Google Pixel 3, complete with press renders showing both the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL, as well as prices for the region. Google’s Pixel 3 event is still more than two weeks out, which means we shouldn’t see any Pixel 3 mention in stores until then. So someone better warn Walmart that selling Pixel 3 XL accessories now might not be something that Google is OK with. A listing for a 2-pack of Supershieldz screen protectors for the Google Pixel 3 XL was spotted on, and it was still available at the time of this writing. Walmart may have published it by mistake, but you can still order it right now. For $10.99, you’d get it by October 2nd, a full week before Google’s joint New York and Paris Pixel launch events. As you can see in the screenshot above, the listing features precisely the kind of Pixel 3 XL imagery you might expect. The phone has a significant notch at the top that houses two front-facing cameras, a speaker and other sensors. On the bottom, we have a large chin bezel that features a second front-facing speaker. In other words, the screen protector hints that the Pixel 3 XL will have the exact design we've seen leak dozens of times already. A few weeks ago, the Pixel 3 XL appeared in a bunch of reports, including plenty of hands-on videos and even in-depth reviews. A batch of prototypes was allegedly stolen and sold on the black markets in Eastern Europe. Soon after that, a Pixel 3 conspiracy theory seemingly fueled by Google’s actions emerged, suggesting the Pixel 3 XL leaks may be an elaborate marketing hoax meant to keep the real phone a secret. Yes, that sounds too good to be true. What’s clear based on Walmart’s listing is that accessory makers have manufactured and are ready to sell Pixel 3 XL accessories that confirm the leaked Pixel 3 XL design.
September 21, 2018

First iPhone XS drop test says the phone is nearly indestructible, but glass is still glass

The day you’ve been waiting for is finally here. Your brand new iPhone is either shipping on Friday, or awaits in a retail store. It’s also the day when regular users get to put the iPhone XS and XS Max through various tests, the kind of tests that early reviewers shy away from. I am talking about durability tests, and especially drop tests that look at how the new iPhone handle drops. The good news is that the iPhone XS and XS Max seem nearly indestructible. The bad news is that glass is still glass, which means your mileage will vary. The iPhone XS is made of “exceptional materials,” Apple explains on its iPhone XS page. That’s “the most durable glass ever in a smartphone,” and “precision-machined, surgical-grade stainless steel.” The new gold finish, meanwhile, is achieved with “an atomic-level process.” This marketing talk, while impressive, will mean nothing when you have to shell out plenty of cash to fix the cracked glass. Remember that Apple can’t guarantee yet that the phone won’t crack. So your best bet still is using protective gear for both the screen and the body of the phone. But the iPhone XS drop test below, which features both XS versions as well as the iPhone X, reveals that Apple made significant progress when it comes to improving the durability of its devices. The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max don’t only survive drops from three and six feet, but the stainless steel doesn’t even scuff. We already know that Apple is indeed working on manufacturing technologies that would prevent scratches and scuffs, but we have no idea if the iPhone XS takes advantage of any of those processes. What’s even more impressive is that the iPhone XS survived a drop from approximately 10 feet. The XS Max, however, didn’t. That’s because drop tests are inherently subjective. The YouTubers who do them have different ways of performing these drop tests, so results may vary — you can expect plenty of other iPhone XS drop tests to hit YouTube now that the phones are out.
September 21, 2018

iPhone XS manual references unreleased AirPower wireless charging accessory

Soon after Apple unveiled the new iPhones and Apple Watch last week, we discovered that Apple removed almost all AirPower mentions from its website. Later, reports from two Apple insiders revealed that Apple has been experiencing various issues with AirPower manufacturing, which explains why the universal wireless charging accessory is still not available at Apple. But now that the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max preorders are shipping to customers, and Apple retail stores around the world have started selling the handset, buyers found AirPower references right inside the retail box. Replying to John Gruber, one of the two insiders that talked about the AirPower delay in previous days, Twitter user Gavin Stephens posted a photo of a page from the iPhone XS Manual that mentions AirPower explicitly. It looks like Apple really wanted to ship the AirPower in time for the new iPhone launch. There’s no other explanation for mentioning AirPower support in those iPhone XS quick tutorials. AirPower should simultaneously charge a variety of products, including iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods. Sonny Dickson explained a few days ago that Apple has been experiencing overheating and software issues during development that were not easy to fix. Apple still plans to use the AirPower trademark and launch AirPower down the road, but they may not look like the original design that Apple unveiled during the iPhone X launch event last year. All of Apple’s new iPhones this year support wireless charging, including the iPhone XR that’s only launching next month. The iPhone XS and XS Max will wirelessly charge even faster than the iPhone X, although wired charging still is the fastest.
September 21, 2018

Google Maps will now suggest a parking spot when you’re close to your destination

Google has been testing parking features in Google Maps for a while now, since parking is obviously such a crucial part of the entire driving and navigating experience. But it looks like Google is rolling out automatic parking suggestions to more users, so don’t be surprised to find the feature next time you plot a navigation course. The way the feature works is pretty interesting, too. Per Android Police, Google Maps will now issue prompts mid-trip that offer to add a stop on your route for recommended parking locations. Unless you act quickly, the prompt will disappear and you’ll have to wait for a new one. What’s also interesting is that there’s no way to enable or disable the new feature at this time, and you don’t have to update your app to get it. It’s just sitting there, waiting to be discovered — and apparently, it’s annoying drivers who are using ride-sharing apps like Lyft. The feature builds on previous Google Maps parking-related features. Initially, Google Maps would inform users of the parking situation at your destination. The feature covered just a handful of cities at first, before expanding to other regions. Every time, however, Google explained the new parking-related app improvements. This time around, the automatic parking suggestions seem to have popped up automatically on phones without warning. Obviously the more you use Google Maps, the more likely it’ll be to notice it and take advantage of it. You should be on a relatively new version of Google Maps to access the feature, preferably the latest. Also, the Android version seems to be more likely to offer you parking suggestions, but people have also reported seeing the notification pop up on their iPhones. It's a bit odd that Google hasn't announced the new feature or mentioned it in any release notes, but it's still something that plenty of people will find useful.
September 20, 2018

You can save more than $1,400 on your iPhone XS purchase with the right plan

The iPhone X successor is just as expensive as the original, contrary to what many buyers may have hoped. The iPhone XS starts at $999 and goes all the way up to $1,349, while the Max is $100 more on all storage tiers — so it starts at $1,099 and goes up to $1,449. But with the right plan, you might save more than $1,400 on your iPhone purchase, if the stars align just right. As you may expect, certain conditions have to be met to take advantage of the deal. For starters, you’d have to stick with your next iPhone purchase for two years to get the savings. Also, you’d have to hop on a family plan to go for the full $1,403. The data comes from WalletHub’s recent research which compared the best iPhone prices and plans from various carriers, including the Big Four, but also smaller operators such as Walmart and Boost Mobile. According to them, if you get an iPhone on a single-line plan for two years, you get to save $740: A four-line family plan meanwhile nets you $1,403 in savings: In each of these comparisons, Walmart plans seem to be the cheapest, but that might not be what you’re looking for. If you want an individual line from a major carrier, then your best bet is AT&T. Sprint is better if you go the Apple iPhone Upgrade Program route. T-Mobile, meanwhile, offers the cheapest Family Plan of the Big Four. And it’s AT&T again if you upgrade your phone via Apple’s program. The same savings probably apply to the iPhone XR, which doesn't launch for another month. The iPhone XR starts at $749 and goes up to $899. WalletHub also has a cell phone savings calculator that you can use to compare different iPhone buying options.
September 20, 2018

Huawei confirms its first foldable smartphone will also be its first 5G phone

We’re about to witness an exciting year in the history of the smartphone, as 2019 will bring us not only the first commercial foldable phones but also the first 5G devices, as carriers around the world will turn on their 5G networks. To add intrigue to mystery, Huawei just confirmed that its first foldable handset will also be its first 5G phone. Huawei earlier this year said that it wants to launch the world’s first foldable smartphone, putting pressure on Samsung. Until the news came out that Huawei is ready to challenge Samsung, it was widely believed that Samsung will claim that title. That may still be the case, as Samsung will unveil some details about its first ever foldable phone in November, during its developer conference. Then Huawei teased its own foldable handset at IFA 2018 a few weeks ago, suggesting that a device with a foldable screen could replace computers. Earlier this week, Huawei Chairman Ken Hu said at a panel at the World Economic Forum that the company’s first 5G phone will have a foldable display. “In our first [5G] smartphone we’re going to introduce a foldable screen,” Hu said, according to Telecoms. He didn’t reveal any other details about the handset, and the panel focused on the benefits of 5G in the short term rather than devices. It makes plenty of sense to pack 5G support inside a phone with a novel form factor because foldable phones will have bigger batteries and more room for additional antennas. 5G will require more battery life, reports have said, as well as different antenna arrays. Hu also said that the phone will arrive in the middle of 2019. Huawei could announce the phone much earlier than that, to continue its attack on Samsung. We have no idea whether Samsung’s first foldable phone will have 5G support, but Samsung did say the Galaxy S10, due in early 2019, won’t be its first 5G phone. Come November, we may learn more details about Samsung’s most exciting phone in years. But even if Samsung unveils the Galaxy F this year, you shouldn’t expect to see it in stores until later in 2019.
September 20, 2018

Speed test shows how much faster your old iPhone will be after the iOS 12 update

We’ve been telling you that iOS 12 is a lot faster than iOS 11 from the first days of iOS 12 beta 1. Apple promised at WWDC that iOS 12’s primary focus is performance, and that showed from the first developer release. Now that the final iOS 12 build is available for everyone to download, old iPhones users may wonder whether they should upgrade their phones or wait. The answer is definitely yes. iOS 12 is a lot better than iOS 11, and the following speed test proves it. YouTube channel EverythingApplePro, which performs such speed tests on a regular basis, compared iOS 12 against iOS 11.4.1 on all the iPhones that support the new iOS release — that’s iPhone 5s to iPhone X. As you’ll see in the video at the end of this post, whether its boot times, benchmarks, animations, apps loading (camera and keyboard included), or using Touch ID/Face ID, iOS 12 is noticeably faster in most cases. Even battery life is slightly better on iOS 12, the video explains, although it doesn’t provide any numbers to back up the claim. We already saw similar speed tests from other sources, including actual users, that reached the same conclusion. iOS 12 delivers a performance boost to all iOS devices, older models included. If you own a relatively new iOS device, the speed gains are still noticeable but don’t matter as much as they do with older iPhones and iPads. In previous years, we’ve often witnessed issues with older gadgets running Apple’s latest iOS release, and we’d often advise you to downgrade to the previous iOS version or wait until Apple patches up various bugs. But with iOS 12 that’s no longer the case. You could have easily run the public beta version of iOS 12 on an old iPhone or iPad. And Apple will further improve it as it gets closer to the first major iOS 12 update, iOS 12.1, which is already available in beta.