Lawmakers Urge AT&T to Cut Ties with Huawei over Security Concerns

US lawmakers are urging AT&T to cut ties with Huawei citing national security concerns. Earlier this month the wireless carrier backed out of a deal to carry Huawei’s flagship smartphone.

Reuters confirms now that US lawmakers were involved in pressuring AT&T to scrap this plan, fearing that Huawei would allow the Chinese government to install technology on handsets to spy on Americans. The US government is also urging AT&T not to collaborate with Huawei on 5G wireless standards. For similar reasons, Reuters reports, the US government is opposed to the China Mobile Ltd.’s entry into the US market.

“The next wave of wireless communication has enormous economic and national security implications. China’s participation in setting the standards and selling the equipment raises many national security issues that demand strict and prompt attention,” said Michael Wessel, a member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, to Reuters.

Huawei, a Chinese company founded by a former PLA officer, has grown quickly to become the third largest smartphone maker in the world after Apple and Samsung. The company is also the world’s second largest telecom equipment manufacturer after Ericsson.

However, fears that the company is involved in espionage on behalf of China have hampered its entry into the US. In 2013, US lawmakers pressured both Sprint Nextel and its corporate parent SoftBank not to use Huawei equipment. In response, Huawei’s CEO and founder Ren Zhengfei circulated an internal email insisting that his company’s secretive reputation has been exaggerated.

“With regards to the media, I have always been completely transparent,” Ren wrote. In a similar vein, he has promised that his successor will not be a family member.

“None of my family members have these skills, so none of them will ever succeed me,” Ren said in the e-mail.

These assurances have apparently done little to dispel espionage concerns. US lawmakers are now warning that American companies that do business with Huawei could hamper their ability to do business with the US government. So far, Huawei, AT&T, and China Mobile have not commented on the issue.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang did not comment on the details of the aborted deal between Huawei and AT&T, and expressed hope that Chinese companies could continue to do business with the US.

“We hope that China and the United States can work hard together to maintain the healthy and stable development of trade and business ties. This accords with the joint interests of both,” Lu said.

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2019 iPhone Lineup Rumored to Slim Down Obtrusive ‘Notch’

The iPhone X’s sensor notch is a contentious issue. Some people love it, others hate it, and many are ambivalent. But while the notch is likely here to stay for the time being, Apple may be exploring making it smaller in future iPhones.

Apple is reportedly “looking into” combining the TrueDepth infrared camera with the standard front-facing camera module on next year’s iPhone, according to industry sources cited in a Tuesday report by ET News. Such a design move could, presumably, allow for a smaller sensor housing, and in turn, a smaller notch on the 2019 lineup of devices.

Of course, the ET News report is a bit confusing in that it mentions a singular face recognition module combined with a camera. But Apple’s TrueDepth system uses a variety of sensors, including a dot projector, infrared camera and flood illuminator, so it isn’t clear how Apple would embed these components into a singular and smaller module.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the “notch,” as it’s widely known, is controversial. While many iPhone X users have gotten used to the design decision, others have expressed criticism for it. Joshua Topolsky, a writer for The Outline, just plainly wrote it is “bad design.” In his opinion, Apple should have stuck with slim top bezels.

Face ID Plans

But love it or hate it, Apple seems to be sticking to its guns for the near future. The company’s new Face ID biometric system is expected to make it to the entire iPhone lineup this year, according to a 2017 report by well-connected KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Some reports predict that 2018’s iPad Pro devices will also adopt the advanced facial recognition platform.

Unless Apple somehow changes its design parameters for Face ID, it’s likely that the notch design will become the standard display silhouette for all iPhones this year. It’s currently unknown whether Apple will use the “notch” in an iPad Pro, but the company could probably avoid it thanks to the tablet’s larger display area.

LG TrueDepth Production

In addition to the tidbit about a smaller notch, ET News also reported that LG Innotek is planning on investing in additional production lines for face recognition modules for Apple.

LG Innotek is believed to become one of the primary component suppliers for the iPhone X’s facial recognition module. The firm recently announced a $ 821 million investment into camera manufacturing facilities, and although it didn’t cite Apple as its primary client, the evidence certainly points toward Cupertino as the primary motivation.

Interestingly, ET News’ source claims that the LG Innotek investments are for products released in 2019, not this year. Still, Apple is largely expected to expand Face ID to its entire iPhone lineup this year — so it’s likely that LG Innotek will play a part even without its expanded production capabilities.

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Apple Strikes Deal with WeChat to Enable Tipping Feature

Chinese iPhone owners are now able to send money through instant messaging service WeChat as part of a new agreement between Apple and the app’s developer.  

According to the Wall Street Journal, the tech giant has just signed a deal with Tencent, which owns WeChat. The companies are said to be on a “mutual understanding” after a bitter battle over App Store rules.

Last year, Apple banned the app’s financial tipping feature on the grounds that it apparently violated the terms of the App Store. However, the company has since changed its position on the situation. The tipping feature is popular among users of the app because it gives them an easy way to make payments to content creators and their peers.

The deal will also see the company improve the feature so that individuals can send money to each other through WeChat. Other firms are likely to benefit from these changes, too.

Alan Zhang, an executive at Tencent, confirmed Apple’s change of heart on Monday. He said: “In the past, companies like Apple might have had a difficult time understanding China-specific features.

He explained that the two companies are now on good terms. “We now all share a mutual understanding and we’ll soon bring back the ‘tip’ function,” added Zhang.

But Apple has become tough with third-party payment apps in recent years. It’s previously argued that they clash with a payment mechanism in the App Store.  

However, the company has since amended this policy to allow tip-based functionalities. In-app purchases work in a similar way and have been popular among iOS developers for years.

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5 Hidden iOS Photo App Features You Never Knew of

With iOS 11, users have many more options when it comes to editing, sharing, storing, and moving their photos and videos.  But are you making the most out of your iOS 11 experience when it comes to your photos and videos? Press the right arrow to discover 5 Photo app tips and tricks you probably aren’t taking advantage of.

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