Xfinity Mobile now works with your unlocked iPhone

Until now, Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile service has meant buying one of its locked devices. But what if you already have a phone and want to switch? You now have that choice… if you’re firmly in Apple’s camp. Xfinity Mobile has enabled an in-store Bring Your Own Device option, but only for “select” unlocked iPhone models. Other manufacturers’ phones will have to wait until later in 2018. You can receive a gift card if you trade in a phone that doesn’t qualify, although that means settling for a locked handset (and likely getting less than your handset is worth).

There probably won’t be a surge of people signing up — historically, Americans have tended to buy locked phones on contract. However, this could certainly help if Xfinity Mobile’s bundled discounts and by-the-gig rates make sense for you. It could also help fuel the service’s reported success by making it easier for people to switch from rival networks. Xfinity is unlikely to topple the wireless giants since it’s intended mainly for the Comcast faithful, but this certainly won’t hurt.

Source: Comcast

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Apple CEO: iPhone owners will be able to disable ‘power management’

About a month ago, Apple explained that slower performance of older iPhones is intentional, implemented as a “power management” plan through an iOS update. While it was ostensibly intended to prevent phones from crashing in situations when their worn-out battery couldn’t supply enough juice to support demanding functions, owners are upset they weren’t notified it was happening. In fact, it was only discovered through benchmarks. In an apology, Apple lowered the price of battery replacements and promised an iOS update that would inform users when the phone detects battery problems.

Tonight, in an interview with ABC News, CEO Tim Cook that not only will owners be able to check the health of their battery, but they can also turn off the performance-slowing power management, with a warning that it could lead to unexpected restarts. Cook said “maybe we should have been clearer,” and that Apple’s motivation is always the user, making sure their phone is available for an important photograph or making an emergency call. Will this tweak be enough to head off a slew of lawsuits? Only time will tell, but our first peek at the feature will come in a developer preview later this month.

Source: ABC News

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Motorola’s 2018 lineup may include an iPhone X lookalike

Someone might have just spoiled Motorola’s 2018 in a big way. Droid Life has posted a trio of leaks which, if accurate, hint at some big changes to the Lenovo brand’s smartphone lineup. The headliner would be the Moto X5, and it’s not hard to see why: the device reportedly includes a 5.9-inch, 18:9 aspect ratio display with an iPhone X-style notch. There’s no visible fingerprint reader, for that matter, so the X5 is either relying on face detection (the dual front cameras could help with this) or has a fingerprint reader tucked under the screen.

The X5 wouldn’t lean solely on its screen as its selling point: there would also be a “smart AI” helping out, and dual rear cameras to complement those on the front.

Not that the X would hog all the clever ideas. The Moto Z3 and Z3 Play would have tall, curved 6-inch screens but no notch (they’d be closer to the Galaxy S8). Instead, they’d rely on MotoMod support as their selling point — there would even be a 5G mod (mentioned by Moto back in December 2016) to deliver super-fast wireless, presumably without a battery life hit. There may be a third Moto Z with a Snapdragon 845 down the road.

Moto Z3 5G mod

And it wouldn’t be Motorola without updates to its rapidly burgeoning Moto G line. The G6, G6 Plus and G6 Play would bring 18:9 displays to the company’s more affordable phones (5.7 inches in the G6 and G6 Play, 5.93 inches in the G6 Plus), albeit with more familiar designs that include conventional fingerprint readers. Otherwise, they’re speed bumps. The regular G6 would use a Snapdragon 450, while at least the G6 Plus would use a Snapdragon 630. The G6 Plus would get a battery increase to 3,200mAh, and the G6 Play would be a longevity champ with a 4,000mAh power pack.

Only the G6 models have detailed specs and pricing ($ 240 for the G6, $ 330 for the Plus), and there’s no definitive launch window. The G6 makes sense for a debut at Mobile World Congress in February, but it could be months more until the other phones arrive. And we’d definitely take these leaks with a grain of salt. Whether or not the rumors are accurate, a lot can change over the course of several months. Motorola may have to scale back its ambitions or otherwise make tweaks before launch.

Moto G6

Source: Droid Life (Moto X), (Moto Z), (Moto G)

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Apple will replace your iPhone battery even if it passes tests

Apple now has $ 29 iPhone battery replacements available as an apology for its approach to handset slowdowns. But do you need to wait until your iPhone actually slows down before paying for a fresh power pack? Apparently not. MacRumors has confirmed an iGeneration report that Apple will replace the batteries on iPhone 6 or newer models whether or not they pass the usual diagnostic test (which recommends a replacement if the battery falls below 80 percent of its original capacity). In other words, you can go ahead if your phone just isn’t lasting as long as it used to.

Some iPhone owners who jumped on the replacement program during its initial weekend had been denied fresh batteries, since their power packs were otherwise healthy. They shouldn’t have a problem throughout the rest of the discount period, which ends in December.

The no-strings-attached gesture is clearly part of Apple’s mea culpa: you can get a fresh power pack if you’re even slightly worried. At the same time, it’s also helpful if you know you tend to thrash batteries, or if you just want to wring out as much use as possible before you consider an upgrade.

Source: iGeneration (translated), MacRumors

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Apple’s $29 iPhone battery replacements are available a month early

Apple was only poised to offer discounted iPhone battery replacements to Americans in late January, but they’re already here. The company has issued a statement announcing that the $ 29 replacements are available today (December 30th) in the US for affected users with an iPhone 6 or later, whether or not they have an active AppleCare warranty. It didn’t explain the move beyond saying that it “expected to need more time to be ready,” but it was “happy” to provide the lower prices “right away.” It warned that there might be initial shortages of batteries for some models.

As before, the discount should last through the end of 2018.

The $ 50 price slash is part of Apple’s public apology for failing to disclose that it slows processor speeds on iPhones with severely degraded batteries. The company claimed that it slows the phones down to prevent unexpected shutdowns and extend longevity, but the lack of transparency led to accusations that it was trying to push customers toward earlier upgrades — there’s even the possibility of criminal charges in France. An iOS update in early 2018 will offer transparency on battery health, but that might not satisfy users wondering whether or not the slowdowns are needed in the first place. While battery degradation certainly isn’t unique to Apple (it’s the nature of lithium-ion technology), other vendors have said they don’t slow their devices.

Source: TechCrunch

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iFixit discounts iPhone battery replacement kits amid Apple backlash

Apple may have apologized for the confusion surrounding its intentional slow down of older iPhones to balance battery life and performance, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s happening. If your iPhone is out of warranty and you don’t want to have Apple replace it, then perhaps iFixit can help. Starting today, the company has reduced its DIY battery install kits to $ 29 or less to match Apple’s price.

That $ 29 figure is how much Apple will make you shell out to replace your out-of-warranty iPhone battery through the end of 2018. It’s a solid deal, but iFixit points out that you may not want to wait for an appointment at the Genius Bar (or to wait around for the repair to be completed). Additionally, the iPhone 4S, 5, 5S and 5C are excluded from Apple’s program.

iFixit’s kits are designed such that even beginners can replace their iPhone’s batteries, and all the tools are included in the kit. You can peruse the selection here; the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus battery replacements will run you $ 29, while all older model kits are priced at $ 24.99.

Source: iFixit

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Watch a developer erase his face with the iPhone X

The iPhone X’s Face ID sensors have shown great potential for art, gaming and just weird apps, but a Japanese developer has taken another tack with the device. Using Unity, ViRD game developer @noshipu, aka Kazuya Noshiro, completely erased his face, except for his mouth and eyes, as shown in the 10-second clip below. Calling the trick “optical camouflage,” Noshiro admitted that he has no clue what it can be used for. “If you want to make your face transparent, we’re recruiting,” he joked.

Noshiro didn’t say exactly how the trick worked, despite curiosity from his followers. However, one person asked him if he fixed the camera to pre-record the background, and he admitted “that’s correct.” So in other words, he likely first recorded what was behind him, then masked out his face — bar his eyes and mouth — and inserted the background. The iPhone X’s motion sensors could synchronize everything with the camera movement.

The effect shows the potential of sensor-laden phones like the iPhone X — which are bound to become more common with Face ID-like security — and how ARkit can work with other developer platforms like Unity. Sure, it seems perfectly useless, which is why it might also make a pretty sweet Snapchat filter.

Via: DesignTaxi

Source: Noshipu (Twitter)

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iPhone X owners can’t use Face ID to approve family purchases

Face ID on the iPhone X is helpful for authorizing a purchase for yourself, but don’t expect to use it if you’re approving a purchase for your kids. Numerous owners have discovered that the face authentication feature doesn’t work for family purchases (that is, where a family member asks you to buy apps or music on their behalf) like Touch ID does on earlier iPhones. It’s not a tremendous pain, but you probably won’t relish the thought of punching in your password every time your little ones want a new game for their iPads.

We’ve asked Apple if it can elaborate on why Face ID doesn’t work in these situations. Is it a security decision, a lack of time to add the feature or something else?

As Ars Technica notes, there could be good practical reasons to avoid using Face ID for family sharing decisions like this. When Apple was introducing Face ID, it was up front about the possibility that twins and other similar-looking family members could fool the detection system. And sure enough, we’ve seen at least one instance where a child successfully unlocked a parent’s iPhone X because of a strong resemblance. Apple probably doesn’t want to risk someone’s child going on a shopping spree simply because genetics worked in their favor, even if the chances of that happening are slim.

Whatever the reasons, the findings highlight the challenges of switching biometric security formats — each one has its own limitations, and could force companies to reevaluate security policies that they’d taken for granted after years of including fingerprint readers. It could be a while before depth-based face recognition is reliable enough to use in every situation, and that’s assuming there are no insurmountable obstacles.

Via: Ars Technica

Source: Apple Communities (1), (2), (3)

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The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will display an iPhone 5s

Director Sean Baker ripped up the filmmaking rulebook by shooting his Sundance hit Tangerine on an iPhone 5s. Now, over two years since the flick scooped more than seven times its budget at theaters, the Oscars has come knocking. No, the filmmaker isn’t getting a belated gong (although his current indie success story The Florida Project could change that). Rather, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is pinching one of three iPhone 5s handsets used to film Tangerine to display in its upcoming Academy Museum. You’ll be able to see it for yourself, alongside film memorabilia from The Wizard of Oz and Alien, when the 300,000 square foot space opens its doors in 2019.

Tangerine follows a day in the life of a transgender sex worker who discovers her pimp boyfriend has been cheating on her. Baker revisits the Hollywood location where one of the film’s climactic scenes takes place in the Academy’s announcement video (above). The director also talks of the equipment he used, including the soon-to-be immortalized iPhone 5s, outfitted with an an anamorphic adapter made by Moondog Labs, and a Steadicam rig. The film was edited using the $ 8 Filmic Pro app.

If that doesn’t inspire a bunch of aspiring filmmakers to shoot on the fly, then nothing will. And with awesome camera tech now on plenty of flagships, from the LG V30 to the iPhone X, you’ve no excuse.

Source: Oscars (YouTube)

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Apple has finally caught up with iPhone X demand

The iPhone X was an elusive unicorn on launch. If you didn’t snag one of the earliest pre-orders or get lucky waiting in line, you were looking at a weeks-long wait — more than a few people flipped their units for a tidy profit. Now, however? They’re practically growing on trees. Multiple Apple online stores (including the US, UK, Canada and Japan) list the iPhone as in stock and delivering within 1-2 days if you commit to a purchase. Carriers and third-party stores are carrying the phone, too.

Clearly, Apple has caught up to demand — and that’s no mean feat given the iPhone X’s later-than-usual November release (reportedly to make sure there was enough supply) and fears that production would make it a rarity until sometime in 2018. This does leave lingering questions, though. Does this mean Apple sold a gigantic amount of phones, or is interest cooling off? And more importantly, does this improved production bode well for more affordable iPhone X-style modes down the line? Until Apple posts its quarterly figures (which aren’t likely to break down iPhone sales by model), the answers to both are one big “maybe.”

Via: 9to5Mac

Source: Apple

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