Is iPhone X really too expensive? We’ll find out May 1

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The date for Apple’s second financial earnings call of 2018 was revealed on its investors’ website tonight, setting Tuesday, May 1, as the big date. Apple has reportedly been facing slumping iPhone sales amid waning demand for the iPhone X. Investors will find out just how bad (or good) the sales figures are when Tim […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

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Apple’s less powerful iPad mini 4 is $70 more expensive than the new iPad

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Today, Apple refreshed its iPad lineup with a new 9.7-inch iPad with Pencil support that comes with a student-focused $ 30 discount. The device is designed to replace last year’s $ 329 base model iPad, and it sells for that same price to regular consumers. Apple’s race to beat Google in the classroom is a good thing for everyone, resulting in cheaper price points and more options. However, one product category that still remains stubbornly unaffordable in Apple’s new education and accessibility-focused iPad roadmap is the iPad mini 4.

The company’s web store was updated this morning, and the 7.9-inch iPad mini, which came out back in September of 2015, is still being sold for a mind-boggling $ 399, as pointed out by Business Insider’s…

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I think Apple realized the iPhone X is too expensive

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iPhone X 2018 price specs release date

When rumors first emerged last year that the iPhone X was going to cost $ 1,000 at launch, you could virtually taste the skepticism in the air. A phone that expensive would be too pricey to appeal to most consumers, the thinking went, and Apple would be left with a flagship phone that no one could afford.

Nearly five months after the iPhone X’s launch, it’s clear that there is some appetite for phones that cost north of $ 999, and the iPhone X hasn’t been a flop by any measure. But supply-chain reports have suggested that the iPhone X, while successful, hasn’t met pre-launch sales estimates, and it seems like Apple might be rethinking its pricing strategy for 2018.

A new report from RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani sheds some light on what we might see when Apple launches its new iPhones later this year. It’s widely expected to debut three new models, and Daryanani thinks the lineup will include a second-gen iPhone X for $ 899, a $ 100 price cut on the current version. “The refreshed 5.8″ OLED (XI) could be priced at $ 899 ( $ 100 cheaper vs. current iPhone X) and the larger 6.5″ OLED could be priced at $ 999,” Daryanani wrote. “This would effectively lower the average ASP’s but we think will drive a stronger unit growth.”

The report also has some details on what the new devices might look like. “Two OLED devices – 5.8 inch form factor and a larger 6.5 inch form factor; one LCD model 6.1 inch size,” the note says. “The larger device is likely targeted at China, where the form factor has been popular in the past. The LCD device is likely to have aluminium edges vs. premium steel in other two devices. All three phones are expected to have Face ID (no home button) and likely to be more powerful devices vs. past generation.”

Taking Daryanani’s predictions at face value, this could make for the most diversified iPhone lineup we’ve ever seen, and the best range of options for consumers. The flagship would be a $ 999 6.5-inch iPhone X Plus, and a smaller but functionally similar iPhone X for $ 899. The step-down version would be the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone, which could be around $ 699 or $ 750. That version would lose the OLED screen, and also potentially some high-end features like a simpler rear camera. Further down the line-up, I’d expect to see the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, as well as the iPhone SE, live on as cheaper options for consumers.

All this is good news for Apple fans who have become weary of prices creeping ever higher, but it also marks a departure from Apple’s traditional strategy. It really wasn’t a long time ago that Apple only made one iPhone a year, because it figured that one device had the right mix of performance and value for money to appeal to everyone. The launch of the iPhone 6 Plus seemed like a tacit admission that not everyone wanted the same form factor, but the two-device system at least shared most features between both phones. With a lineup that includes three very different phones per year, Apple could be descending into the same kind of fragmented hell that Android has occupied for years.

Still, let’s not lose sight of the important detail here: The normal-sized second-gen iPhone X could well be getting a price cut this year, which is good news for Apple, and even better news for everyone upgrading.

Apple – BGR

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Android OEMs: Face ID Is Too Expensive to Copy, So Have a Fingerprint Sensor Instead

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It wasn’t too long after iPhone X arrived on the scene last fall, that Android device-makers far and wide began scrambling to acquire the same biometric security and front-facing camera tech as Apple’s Face ID-powered TrueDepth sensors. Considering the scarcity of these advanced VCSEL-equipped camera modules — coupled also with the fact that Apple’s are a […]
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Why ‘Trouble Is Looming’ for Apple’s Most Expensive iPhone Models

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Apple’s announcement of its thousand-dollar iPhone X was met with mixed feelings. While most pundits and analysts lauded the company for its innovative new hardware and introduction of impressive, next-generation technologies, unfortunately the sheer fact that it would all cost $ 999 (or more) had some analysts and cost-conscious consumers cringing at the very thought. Even […]
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California’s Bullet Train Is Going to Be Way, Way More Expensive

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California has been trying to construct a high-speed rail system in the state since at least 1981, yet the project’s most recent business plan has even the most enthusiastic proponents of the bullet train wincing over its estimated cost. The plan suggests that the price of connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco could be at least $ 77.3 billion, and could rise to $ 98.1 billion.

The LA Times reports that projections from two years ago had previously pegged the railway’s cost at around $ 13 billion cheaper.

The plan also estimates that the first trains won’t begin running along a partial stretch of rail, between San Francisco and Bakersfield (a little under 480 km [300 miles] south), until 2029, with the final system operating by 2033. Previous projections said rails would be complete four years earlier.

The reality is that the rail has a $ 40-billion gap in funding, which the rail authority was hoping to fill through passenger revenue and private investments after an initial operating system was set up. There are also significant construction challenges ahead, including building 58 km (36 miles) of tunnels through Southern California’s mountainous terrain — which the report suggests will make up a $ 26-billion to $ 45-billion chunk of the final cost. However, the rail section that would run through Central Valley saw the biggest price increase.

There’s no word yet on whether the rising costs could potentially kill the project, but an oversight hearing on the plan is scheduled for April. Politicians have been less than pleased with the continually rising price tag; the LA Times reports that Republican senator Andy Vidak called the project a “never-ending scam.” He added, “Initially a rathole, now a sinkhole, soon it will be an abyss in which more and more tax dollars are forever lost.”

If California doesn’t complete its bullet train soon, the state may watch as the private sector builds right past it. Elon Musk and The Boring Company have been in talks with authorities in Southern California about building a mass-transit system off of his Hyperloop concept. The Boring Company is already working on a two-mile tunnel to Los Angeles International Airport, the beginning of the end for the area’s “soul-destroying traffic,” as Musk put it during a TED talk.

The post California’s Bullet Train Is Going to Be Way, Way More Expensive appeared first on Futurism.


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‘Heir of Light’ Review – This Looks Expensive

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In my near half-decade at TouchArcade, I’ve had the (some would say dubious) privilege of watching the social RPG genre grow out of barely-interactive card-collecters like Rage of Bahamut into the flourishing and surprisingly-varied dominant force that it is in today’s mobile market. A lot has changed in that time. What was once the realm of only a few upstart publishers is now host to companies like Square Enix, Nintendo, and many more. The increased competition has had two big effects for players. First, any company that wants to launch a new social RPG needs to commit to going big or going home. Second, with so many choices out there, social RPGs have had to become more player-friendly. Today’s social RPGs are better than they’ve ever been as a result.

Unfortunately, the other effect of that heavy competition is that it has become extremely hard for a new game to succeed, especially if it can’t lean on an established brand. And it’s in that zone where Gamevil has been living for the last little while, launching several social RPGs that have obviously had a lot of resources poured into them to somewhat limited success worldwide. Heir of Light [Free] is the latest, and it’s one of the publisher’s most extravagant releases yet. This game looks absolutely gorgeous, is packed full of content that is accessible even to free players, and has a rather substantial story. It’s not exactly brimming with new ideas, but it’s well-made enough.

And yet, I can’t help but feel a strong sense of ennui as I play it. Apart from the razzle-dazzle of its visuals, Heir of Light doesn’t have much to offer anyone who has grown weary of this particular brand of hamster wheel. The story is original enough, but it’s wordy and overly-complicated in that way that makes your eyes glaze over and your finger start compulsively tapping to skip the text. There are a lot of systems in place for building up your team, but as is often the case with recent social RPGs, it’s almost too much. Summon characters from a gacha-style random draw, level them up by fighting, sink points into a bunch of stats, collect runes, equip the runes, gather materials, evolve the characters, and don’t ignore too much of this or you’ll hit a wall hard.

The stuffing in between the collecting, evolving, and upgrading in this game takes the form of some nice-looking real-time 3D battles. You can take manual control in these battles, tapping your skill of choice when it’s ready to go, setting up team attacks, using buffs at appropriate times, and so on. Most of the time you can just turn on the auto-battle and let your team do their thing, however. They’ll usually do just as well as you would, though you’ll want to get your hands on the wheel in some of the tougher fights. Your team consists of up to four characters. Using their skills involves waiting for a sort of party-wide cooldown, making sure the skill you want to use is ready and not suffering from its individual cooldown, then tapping the appropriate icon. You can queue up multiple skills, so you don’t have to worry too much about the state of your reflexes.

As you play through the single-player campaign and level up, you’ll unlock the usual extra modes you see in games like these, including player-versus-player battles. There is plenty to do in Heir of Light even at launch, and it’s likely that Gamevil will only add to it as time goes on. Of course, all the usual rules apply here. You need to be online for the game to perform regular check-ins. You can summon lower-quality characters without spending any real money, but the best ones can only be found in a draw that requires using premium currency. That currency is handed out now and then for free, but if you’re hunting a particular character you’ll probably need to open your wallet. Stamina meter? Yes, naturally. Not too bad in the beginning, gets to be a bit of a hassle in the long run. You know how this song goes.

In a vacuum, you could probably really get into all of this. Sure, you’re never going to hit any actual final ending, which means any work the story puts in is never going to pay off in any way. And like most social RPGs there are some things that will be extremely difficult to pull off if you’re not a paying customer. None of that is odd, however, and Heir of Light is in most respects a fine example of the genre. But given the required time, money, and energy investment from the player that a social RPG demands, I’m not sure that just being a fine example is good enough. I’ve been on this treadmill before, and if I’m to keep running on one, I’m not sure that Heir of Light would be my top choice. It’s the definition of solid but not spectacular.

Except the graphics, anyway. Goodness gracious, what a pretty game this is. The art design is good, and both the 3D models and the effects applied to them are quite impressive. One of those games where you plug into the wall while you play and your battery meter slinks downward anyway. A veritable hand-warmer for cold nights. Social RPGs are quickly becoming the genre that pushes mobile hardware more than any other, and Heir of Light comfortably sits at the cutting edge of that category. It starts recycling a lot of its visual content after a while, but I can hardly blame the publisher for wanting to get some extra bang for their buck. Is it worth checking the game out just to feast on some eye candy? Well, it is free to try, after all.

The tricky bit is whether or not you’ll want to stick around after that initial romp. I mean, you probably could. It’s an agreeable enough game and there’s a good chunk of content to burn through if you’re that-way inclined. But if you’ve burnt out on or bounced off of a social RPG in the past, you’re likely going to look at Heir of Light the way you’d look at your seventh straight plate of spaghetti and meatballs. It’s not bad spaghetti, but it’s still just spaghetti. Yes, even with that bit of parsley decoratively garnishing the plate. If you’ve still got room in your stomach for more spaghetti, though, this won’t make you sick.


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The 2018 Lamborghini Aventador S is the most expensive car you can get with Android Auto

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The Lamborghini Aventador S is an engineering marvel, what with its 740-horsepower V12, all-wheel drive system, rear-wheel steering, and so on. It is getting a little long in the tooth now, thanks in part to its older single-clutch transmission, but Lamborghini added Apple CarPlay support to the Aventador S for the 2017 model year to spice things up a bit. For the 2018 model, Android Auto support is on board as well.

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The 2018 Lamborghini Aventador S is the most expensive car you can get with Android Auto was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Foxconn branching out from iPhones into more expensive devices as it seeks to diversify

iPhone assembler Foxconn is seeking to diversify its production lines as it says the smartphone market has become stagnant. The company currently relies on Apple for around half of its revenue, but has ambitious plans for even higher-end manufacturing …



Sunday debate: Are phones getting too expensive?

Apple just announced that they’ve sold less iPhones but made more revenue. In this episode of the Sunday debate we discuss if phones are getting too expensive? Paul: “No – they’re no different to any other category” Rookie mistake, we’ve all made them, mine was once asking my wife “How much did those cost?” while she was showing off her new shoes! After I spat out my breakfast upon hearing the response – I then proceeded to ask if they did anything else for that price – hover shoes perhaps, walk up walls or constructed from some amazing new material ensuring they’d be the last… – Latest articles