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

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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

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The iPhone 8 reportedly swaps the home button for gesture controls

The folks over at Bloomberg got their hands on some images of the next iPhone as well as some information from people familiar with the new model. Some of the features confirmed in their report were already known or at least heavily suspected, but there are also some new details about how the phone will function without the home button.

As has been reported before, the images viewed by Bloomberg show that the iPhone 8 will have thin bezels and a larger screen than the iPhone 7. It’s also going to have a facial recognition sensor that, along with the earpiece and front-facing camera, will be contained in a cutout at the top of the screen. Some other physical details include rounded edges for the screen, a longer power button, a glass front and back and stainless steel edges with antenna cuts on the corners. The app dock is also getting a redesign and looks a lot like the iPad iOS 11 dock, according to Bloomberg.

But one of the bigger changes — the removal of the home button that’s been a part of the phone for a decade — comes with some tweaks to how users will access the features that the home button has brought them to in the past. Now, what was once the home button’s function is going the way of the iPad and Apple’s laptop trackpads. Gesture controls will now bring you to the main app grid and show you which apps are open. The bottom of the screen will host a software bar that can be dragged upwards to open the phone and also to get to the multitasking interface once the phone is unlocked.

The new iPhone is expected to launch on September 12th alongside the 7s and 7s Plus models.

Source: Bloomberg

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The next iPhone reportedly scans your face instead of your finger

Rumormongers have long claimed that Apple might include face recogition in the next iPhone, but it’s apparently much more than a nice-to-have feature… to the point where it might overshadow the Touch ID fingerprint reader. Bloomberg sources understand that the new smartphone will include a depth sensor that can scan your face with uncanny levels of accuracy and speed. It reportedly unlocks your device inside of “a few hundred milliseconds,” even if it’s laying on flat of a table. Unlike the iris scanner in the Galaxy S8, you wouldn’t need to hold the phone close to your face. The 3D is said to improve security, too, by collecting more biometric data than Touch ID and reducing the chances that the scanner would be fooled by a photo.

Does that sound good to you? You’re not alone. The leakers claim that Apple ultimately wants you to use face recognition instead of Touch ID. It’s not clear whether this will replace Touch ID, though. While the tipsters say that Apple has run into “challenges” putting a fingerprint reader under the screen, they don’t rule it out entirely. There are conflicting reports: historically reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is skeptical that under-screen Touch ID will make the cut, while a representative at chip maker TSMC supposedly claimed that it’s present. Your face may be the preferred biometric sign-in approach rather than the only one.

The Bloomberg scoop largely recaps existing rumors, including an all-screen design (with just a tiny cut-out at the top for a camera, sensors and speaker), a speedier 10-nanometer processor and a dedicated chip for AI-related tasks. However, it adds one more treat: if accurate, the new iPhone will get an OLED version of the fast-refreshing ProMotion display technology you see in the current-generation iPad Pro. So long as the leaks are accurate, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the next iPhone represents a massive hardware upgrade, even if the software is relatively conservative.

Source: Bloomberg

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Apple TV will reportedly get Amazon’s Video app this summer

The squabbling between Amazon and Apple might soon be over — at least, on the TV front. Amazon’s Video app might finally be heading to the Apple TV this summer, giving consumers an easy way to watch Amazon’s streaming content on the set-top box, Recode reports. Up until now, you were forced to use AirPlay to send Amazon’s streaming video titles to the Apple TV. That’s been one of the Apple TV’s biggest downsides since it debuted in 2015, together with a lack of 4K support.

The deal between Apple and Amazon might also lead to other changes. Amazon, for example, stopped selling the Apple TV in 2015 because it didn’t support its Prime Video service. That likely made a big dent in sales for Apple, especially as newer devices from Roku hit the market with 4K support. If Apple actually plans to release a newer 4K Apple TV this year, as rumors suggest, then landing back on Amazon would be essential.

At this point, it’s unclear if anything will change for Amazon’s Video apps on iOS. You can currently use them to watch Amazon Prime videos, as well as things you’ve already rented or purchased, but you can’t actually make those transactions within the app. That’s similar to how Amazon handles digital purchases on its Kindle and Comixology iOS apps. By forgoing in-app purchases on Apple’s ecosystem, Amazon avoids having to give the iPhone maker a cut of the revenue.

Source: Recode

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Apple reportedly buys an AI-based face recognition startup

Those rumors of Apple exploring facial recognition for sign-ins might just have some merit. Calcalist reports that Apple has acquired RealFace, an Israeli startup that developed deep learning-based face authentication technology. The terms of the deal aren’t public, but it’s estimated at “several million dollars.” Cupertino would mainly be interested in the promise of the technology than pure resources, in other words.

We’ve reached out to Apple for comment on the reported deal and will let you know if it has something to add. However, RealFace recently took its website down and left nothing but a skeleton server behind.

Apple is no stranger to buying companies with some form of facial recognition tech. However, a focus on authentication would be both new and logical. If Apple wants to reduce its dependence on fingerprint readers for password-free iPhone logins, it needs a face detection system that will quickly and consistently sign you in across most situations, not just ideal conditions. RealFace’s AI tech is supposed to be highly accurate, so it might not be as finnicky or easily duped as some implementations.

Via: Times of Israel

Source: Calcalist (translated)

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Apple is reportedly reinventing the iPhone’s fingerprint reader

Future iPhones may revolve around more than just an eye-catching curved display. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who frequently (though not always) has a knack for hardware scoops, believes that Apple is designing a whole new Touch ID fingerprint reader for future iPhones and iPads. In order for Apple to virtually eliminate bezels, it needs a reader that sits under the screen — and that means a brand new optical sensor. Development is underway, the analyst says, but development is still early enough that the technology might not be ready in time for the 2017 iPhone.

You might not even need a fingerprint sensor in the future, though. Kuo claims that Apple is looking at using face recognition (not just iris recognition) as a part of the next iPhone’s features, and may even scrap Touch ID in the long run. Face recognition isn’t new (just ask anyone using Android since 4.0), but it would have to be advanced if people are going to ditch fingerprint reading entirely. It couldn’t be fooled by a photo, for instance, and would have to be both very fast and adaptable to a wide range of conditions. You don’t want to have to enter your PIN just because it’s too dark.

Biometrics might not be the only area getting an overhaul thanks to the reported new screen. Kuo understands that the iPhone 7’s existing approach to 3D Touch won’t work with the next iPhone’s curved OLED panel, prompting a switch to a “film sensor.” The change would lead to greater sensitivity and more pressure levels, so you might not have to jab the screen quite so authoritatively as you do today.

As always, it’s important to take these claims with a grain of salt. Analysts can have the inside track on future products thanks to suppliers, but they may have incomplete info or discuss features that are subject to change. Don’t be alarmed if these features don’t make the cut, or if they show up in ways you didn’t expect. If there’s any credibility to the reports, though, unlocking and interacting with your iPhone may be much easier in the near future.

Source: 9to5Mac (1)

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Lenovo’s Moto M reportedly packs 5,100mAh of power

We don’t have an official release date for Lenovo’s next Moto handset just yet, but we do have a leaked set of specs that hint at what’s to come. According to some grainy renders that made the rounds earlier this week, the Moto M will be the first Motorola smartphone to feature a rear-facing fingerprint sensor and its unibody frame puts it solidly in the mid-tier of current generation handsets. But the big spec surprise here is a huge 5,100mAh battery which Lenovo estimates will give you more than a month of standby time.

Your mileage may vary, of course, but that battery is still about 47 percent larger than the Pixel XL and more than 75 percent larger than the iPhone 7 Plus. And even larger than the last big-battery-packing phone we spotted, the LG X Power. To charge a battery that size, Lenovo is also including a 4.5A rapid charger in the box.


As for the rest of the specs: the Moto M will run Android 6.0 Marshmallow with an octa-core 2.0 GHz Snapdragon processor, 4 or 4GB RAM, and 32 or 64GB of storage expandable to 128GB via microSD. According to Krispitech, the Moto M will land in December, although that date is still unconfirmed.

Source: TechDroider, Krispitech

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