Apple reportedly taps Spielberg for new ‘Amazing Stories’

Looks like Apple found someone to spend some of that billion dollars it earmarked for original TV and movies on: Steven Spielberg. Each episode of the revived Amazing Stories anthology series will cost about $ 5 million, according to Wall Street Journal‘s sources, and Spielberg will serve as executive producer for the show. Bryan Fuller (American Gods, Hannibal) is set to write according to Deadline, and the show has apparently been on ice for a few years. It’s a partnership between the filmmaker’s Amblin Television company, NBCUniversal and the iPhone maker.

Amazing Stories isn’t new. It ran on NBC during the ’80s, but given how popular anthology series are now, the Black Mirror effect, if you will, everyone seems to be getting in on the action. HBO has the excellent Room 104, Amazon Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams — it makes sense that Apple would want one to call its own as well. Cupertino’s just so happens to have one of the most revered filmmakers on the planet involved.

If you need more Spielberg in your life, HBO just debuted its documentary on the director and it’s streaming on HBO Go and Now.

Source: Wall Street Journal, Deadline

Engadget RSS Feed

iPad Pro could be Apple’s next device to use Face ID

It’s safe to assume that the face recognition system in the iPhone X will eventually reach other devices, but which ones are next in line? KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo might have an idea. The historically accurate analyst expects the next generation of the iPad Pro to adopt the TrueDepth camera and, by extension, Face ID. This would unify the experience across Apple’s mobile devices, the analyst says, and would spur developers knowing that they could use face recognition across multiple Apple devices, not just one handset. The new iPads would ship sometime in Apple’s fiscal 2018, which ends in September of next year.

There’s another question to be answered: if this happens, will the Touch ID fingerprint reader go away? It’s not so clear. Apple clearly took advantage of eliminating the home button to expand the iPhone X’s screen size, but that’s not as necessary on devices that already have large displays. Also, Apple has typically kept larger bezels on the iPad due to its size — you need at least some space for your thumbs on a device that you can’t easily hold in one hand. We’d add that it could complicate multitasking, since Apple already uses an upward swipe on the iPad’s bottom edge to bring up the app dock. How would you handle that while also using a swipe to go to the home screen?

Whatever happens, it would make sense for the iPad Pro to get face recognition. Apple has made a habit of bringing relatively new features to its higher-end iPads (such as upgraded displays and the Smart Connector), and TrueDepth might be one more reason to spring for a Pro instead of sticking to the base model. And if Apple is going to continue pushing augmented reality, it’ll want tablets that particularly well-suited to the task regardless of the camera you’re using.

Source: 9to5Mac

Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget UK giveaway: Win an iPhone 8 courtesy of Casetify

Even the sweet scent of autumn rain can’t beat that new iPhone smell, and that’s exactly what we’re giving away this week. And not just that, but an actual gold iPhone 8 (64GB) to go with it, thanks to our friends at Casetify. They’ve also been kind enough to bundle that with a £35 voucher for the winner to put towards one of their standard or personalised cases. If you’ve got your heart set on an iPhone X, you can prepare for its arrival with one of Casetify’s covers for that device, too. As always, you can enter the competition up to three times, but not before you give the rules a once-over, capiche?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Entries are handled through the Rafflecopter widget above. Comments are no longer accepted as valid methods of entry. You may enter without any obligation to social media accounts, though we may offer them as opportunities for extra entries. Your email address is required so we can get in touch with you if you win, but it will not be given to third parties.
  • Contest is open to all residents of the UK, 18 or older! Sorry, we don’t make this rule (we hate excluding anyone), so direct your anger at our lawyers and contest laws if you have to be mad.
  • Winners will be chosen randomly. One (1) winner will receive one (1) iPhone 8 and one (1) £35 Casetify voucher code.
  • If you are chosen, you will be notified by email. Winners must respond within three days of being contacted. If you do not respond within that period, another winner will be chosen. Make sure that the account you use to enter the contest includes your real name and a contact email or Facebook login. We do not track any of this information for marketing or third-party purposes.
  • This unit is purely for promotional giveaway. Apple, Casetify and Engadget / Oath are not held liable to honour warranties, exchanges or customer service.
  • The full list of rules, in all its legalese glory, can be found here.
  • Entries can be submitted until October 13th at 11:59PM BST. Good luck!

Source: Casetify

Engadget RSS Feed

Apple adds wizard, dinosaur and mermaid emoji in iOS 11.1

Hundreds more emoji are coming to your iPhone soon. Apple says it’s adding “more emotive smiley faces” as well as gender-neutral icons, more food and (importantly) mythical creatures — in time for Halloween, we hope. The series is coming to iPhone and iPad with iOS 11.1, which will launch next week, early, for developers and public beta testers. If the emoji additions sound familiar, that’s because Apple had teased these back in July. It appears the company is going beyond the 56 Unicode consortium-approved emoji, but that’s likely explained by skin color and hair variants — we haven’t glimpsed the entire set yet. But now that there’s a gyoza emoji, all is well.

Of course, for those waiting around for those animated emoji, you’ve still got some time on your hands: the iPhone X isn’t out until November.

Source: Apple

Engadget RSS Feed

Trump’s chief of staff reportedly used ‘compromised’ phone for months

John Kelly, the White House’s chief of staff, spent months using a “compromised” personal cell phone, according to a new report from Politico. Despite noticing limited functionality on his personal device — it wouldn’t update its software correctly, for one, Kelly didn’t contact the White House’s tech support team sometime this summer. That was months after the strange behavior began, leading officials to believe the attack on his phone could’ve happened as far as back as December 2016.

Of the many questions this situation raises, two stand out: Was any data on Kelly’s personal phone obtained, and if so, was it in any way sensitive? Since the affected device was Kelly’s personal phone, it’s possible that there was no valuable information on it to obtain. The chief of staff mostly used his government-issued phone for official communications since joining the Trump administration, though it’s clearly not impossible for senior White House officials to use their personal phones for official business. Still, a White House spokesperson told Politico that Kelly hadn’t used his personal phone “often” after taking over as chief of staff, implying that it did happen from time to time.

The report raises the possibility that Kelly kept information pertaining to his previous gig as the Secretary of Homeland Security on the phone, but neither he nor anyone else related to the incident has commented on what’s actually on the device.

Still other specifics remain similarly vague. Despite “several days” of testing, there is currently no word on how the attack was carried out. It’s also unclear what kind of phone Kelly was using as a personal device, though he has been seen using an iPhone in the past. This matters more than you might think: older devices are eventually dropped from manufacturer support schedules so they typically don’t get new software and security updates, making them more vulnerable to attacks that new phones would better resist. The exact timing of the hack also remains unclear, and while a memo detailing the incident was distributed to administration staff, no one within the White House seems ready to assign blame just yet.

Source: Politico

Engadget RSS Feed

Microsoft Launcher offers ‘Continue on PC’ option for Android phones

Microsoft is taking a step to make bridging your life between your phone and PC a little easier, at least for Android users. Today they announced Microsoft Launcher, which gives you the option to “Continue on PC,” allowing you to work seamlessly between your Android phone and Windows computer. It’s similar to the Handoff feature on Apple products.

Android phones allow users to customize what’s called a “launcher” that appears when you press the Home button — a feature that iPhone doesn’t have. Microsoft Launcher, which is based on Fluent design, allows you to further customize what you see. In addition to “Continue on PC,” you can place icons of your favorite people on your home screen. It also offers The Feed, where you can find your most-used apps, recent news, important events and more, all tailored to your needs. You can access The Feed by swiping right.

Microsoft Launcher also offers full customization capabilities. Not only do you have the ability to change backgrounds, but it offers “gesture” support to make you as productive as possible. The app is available in Preview for now, and it’s open to any Android user. If you’re on the Arrow Launcher beta, you’ll automatically get the Microsoft Launcher update. Support for Continue on PC will arrive with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

Via: The Verge

Source: Microsoft

Engadget RSS Feed

The Pixel 2 proves headphone jacks are truly doomed

As usual, Apple started a trend. Last year, it dropped the standard 3.5 millimeter headphone jack from the iPhone. The industry was quick to respond. Motorola, even before the iPhone 7 was announced, also removed the port from the Moto Z (though curiously, it remained on the cheaper Z Play). HTC followed suit with the U Ultra this year, as did the geek-friendly Essential phone. Now that Google’s Pixel 2 is confirmed to be headphone jack-less, it seems as if the port’s survival, at least in the mobile world, is a lost cause.

The truly sad thing? A year after this trend began, we still don’t have a good explanation of why we’re better off without headphone jacks. Removing the port opens up a bit of precious internal space, which allowed Apple to stuff in a bigger 3D Touch module in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. But did that actually help make 3D Touch more useful? And what have other phone makers gained, exactly, by jumping on this bandwagon? The additional room isn’t enough to significantly improve battery life, and aside from the Moto Z, it hasn’t led to an influx of ultra-thin designs either.

With the Pixel 2 and its larger companion, in particular, we’ve gained very little by losing the headphone jack. Sure, they’re much more water and dust resistant than the last models. But the Pixel 2’s IP67 certification is something several Android phones have offered for years — and they didn’t need to lose the port to achieve it. Typically when we move away from legacy hardware, we’re headed to something better. But in the case of the 3.5mm headphone port, the tech world seems to have forgotten that. Apple’s joking explanation — “courage” — isn’t enough.

I’m not blind to the benefits of wireless. My trusty BeatsX earbuds are the first pair I’ve used that sound almost as good as great corded headphones. And I truly appreciate being able to use them on the subway without getting tangled up in cables. But here’s the thing: You don’t need to remove the 3.5mm port to enjoy the benefits of Bluetooth headphones. In fact, I’m running my BeatsX on an iPhone 6S — the last iPhone to include the 3.5mm jack. I just like having the flexibility to freely connect my phone to auxiliary cables in cars and corded headphones without carrying around any dongles. It’s 2017, that doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

And not to be too cynical, but it’s hard not to view the move away headphone jacks as a way for companies to push their own expensive wireless headphones. It’s no coincidence that Apple’s $ 150 AirPod’s debuted alongside the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus (as did the BeatsX). Today, Google also showed off its own offering, the aptly named Pixel Buds. It’s almost as if tech companies realize consumers would shell out a bit extra for wireless headphone, rather than live the dongle life.

Chris Velazco/Engadget

As someone who’s chosen this hill to die on, the future looks bleak. Some manufacturers, like Samsung and LG, stuck with the 3.5mm port with their latest devices. Indeed, the the LG V30 appears to be the ideal new phone for audio fanatics, thanks to its powerful HiFi DAC. A headphone jack could just end up being a niche feature that some manufacturers use to entice geeks. But that doesn’t help iPhone users who want to upgrade this year, or Android fans who want the purest experience possible with Google’s Pixel phones.

It was easy for me to skip the iPhone 7 last year, as it was only a minor improvement over the 6S. But with the new design of the iPhone X, as well as its improved cameras, it’ll be hard for me to stay away. And even if I were to make the leap to Android, I’m just as tempted by the Pixel 2 as I am by the Galaxy S8. As much as I’d like to stick with the headphone jack, it’s only a matter of time until I’m tempted away. I just wish we had a good reason for moving away from the most widely supported port ever. No dongle will stop me from being resentful over that.

Follow all the latest news from Google’s Pixel 2 event here!

Engadget RSS Feed

The Google Pixel 2 XL vs. the competition: Cameras rule

In a year where the Galaxy Note made a comeback and Apple is mixing things up by offering both the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X, it’s hard to know what to make of Google’s newest handsets at first. The Pixel XL isn’t particularly flashy on the outside, though the single 12.2MP camera looks promising. But can it compete against the dual camera rigs on other flagship handsets? To see what else this 6-inch handset has to offer versus some of its major competitors, we’ve stacked up their specs in the table below. Be sure to check back later this fall to see how both the new Pixels and the iPhone X fare in their respective full reviews.


Pixel 2 XL Galaxy Note 8 iPhone X iPhone 8 Plus
Pricing $ 849, $ 949 (off contract) Starts at $ 929 (off contract) $ 999, $ 1149 (off contract) $ 799, $ 949 (off contract)
Dimensions 157.9 x 76.7 x 7.9mm (6.2 x 3.0 x 0.3 inches) 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6mm (6.40 x 2.94 x 0.34 inches) 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7mm (5.65 x 2.79 x 0.30 inches) 158.4 x 78.1 x 7.5mm (6.24 x 3.07 x 0.30 inches)
Weight 175g (6.17 ounces) 195g (6.9 ounces) 174g (6.14 ounces) 202g (7.13 ounces)
Screen size 6 inches (152.4mm) 6.3 inches (160.02mm) 5.8 inches (147.32mm) 5.5 inches (139.7mm)
Screen resolution 2,880 x 1,440 (538ppi) 2,960 x 1,440 (521ppi) 2,436 x 1,125 (458ppi) 1,920 x 1,080 (401 ppi)
Screen type Quad HD pOLED Quad HD+ Super AMOLED Super Retina OLED Retina HD IPS LCD
Battery 3,520mAh 3,300mAh 2,716mAh 2,691mAh
Internal storage 64/128GB 64/125/256GB 64 / 256 GB 64 GB / 256 GB
External storage None microSD None None
Rear camera 12.2MP, f/1.8, 1.4μm pixel size Dual cameras:
12MP, f/1.7 (wide angle)
12MP, f/2.4 (telephoto)
Dual cameras:
Wide-angle, 12MP, f/1.8
Telephoto, 12MP, f/2.4
Dual cameras:
Wide-angle, 12MP, f/1.8
Telephoto, 12MP, f/2.8
Front-facing cam 8MP, f/2.4 8MP, f/1.7 7MP TrueDepth, f/2.2 7MP f/2.2
Video capture 4K at 30fps 4K 4K at 60fps 4K at 60fps
NFC Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bluetooth v5.0 v5.0 v5.0 v5.0
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Apple A11 Bionic Apple A11 Bionic
CPU 2.35GHz octa-core 2.3GHz octa-core 64-bit hexa-core, speed not available 64-bit hexa-core, speed not available
GPU Adreno 540 Adreno 540 Not available Not available
RAM 4GB 6GB 3GB 3GB
WiFi Dual band, 802.11ac Dual band, 802.11ac Dual band, 802.11ac Dual band, 802.11ac
Operating system Android 8.0 Android 7.1.1 iOS 11 iOS 11
Other features Fingerprint sensor, IP67 certified, USB Type-C Iris scanner, fingerprint sensor, USB Type-C, 3.5mm headphone jack, wireless charging Face ID, new gyroscope and accelerometer, IP67 certified, Lightning connector, wireless charging New gyroscope and accelerometer, IP67 certified, , Lightning connector, wireless charging

Follow all the latest news from Google’s Pixel 2 event here!

Engadget RSS Feed

Galaxy Note 8 and iPhone 8 Plus tie for top spot in camera test

Like it or not, DxOMark is currently the go-to tester for smartphone camera quality. Companies will even base their marketing around its scores. As such, it’s a big deal when the outfit declares a new winner… and it just declared two. DxOMark has given Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 an overall score of 94, putting it in a tie for the lead with the iPhone 8 Plus. No, that’s not going to trigger endless fan wars, is it? Of course, diving into the scores reveals that the devices reached their scores through different means.

The Note 8’s advantages chiefly come through its secondary camera, relatively noiseless low-light photography and lightning-quick autofocus. Of the two, Samsung’s phone is the one you’d want for portraits or capturing a fast-moving scene. The iPhone, on the other hand, has exceptional high dynamic range performance, accurate face exposure and great overall video performance, particularly with stabilization. And both have their weak points, as you might imagine. The Note 8 has a fairly limited dynamic range that results in lost detail in extreme situations, and has white balance problems in bright lighting or indoors. Apple’s device occasionally struggles with autofocus, doesn’t always nail the color cast in low lighting and has visible noise in low-light video.

The question is: how much does this influence your choice of device? Frankly, it’s complicated. Some of it clearly depends on personal preference based on your photography habits: you may pick the iPhone if you prefer a more accurate color range, or the Note 8 if you enjoy low-light shooting. This also assumes you treat DxOMark’s scores as canonical — it can’t account for every situation with tests, and it may downplay factors that you consider crucial. And of course, there’s the simple matter of liking the rest of the phone. If you’re a hardcore Android or iOS fan, even the best camera in history probably wouldn’t convince you to switch sides.

Source: DxOMark (Note 8), (iPhone 8 Plus)

Engadget RSS Feed

Augmented reality teddy bear teaches kids about being a doctor

Kids frequently don’t need much more than their imagination to bring a teddy bear to life, but what if they had a little boost? That’s what Seedling hopes to do with Parker. The teddy by itself is the same sort of fluffy companion you likely had as a child, but an augmented reality app for iOS turns the bear into something much more. If you want to play doctor, you can look at Parker’s insides to cure a stomach bug or ease a sore throat. You can create magic forests and sea gardens using the AR camera. And importantly you’re rewarded for being kind: the more you take care of Parker, the more the bear uses AR to ‘transform’ the world around you.

Parker is available now for $ 60 with all the accessories you need to get started (besides an iPhone or iPad), including an interactive toy thermometer. That’s not a trivial amount for a stuffed toy, but Seedling is betting that the AR element will be worth it as it teaches empathy and problem solving in addition to whatever your young ones imagine. The catch? You’ll have to visit an Apple store (online or retail) in “select countries,” and the use of ARKit for Parker’s magic puts a damper on the possibility of Android support in the immediate future.

Source: Seedling

Engadget RSS Feed