Report: Apple plans three new iPhones for 2018—and they’re all like the iPhone X

Enlarge (credit: Samuel Axon)

According to a new report, three new iPhones will launch in 2018, all derived from the design and features of the iPhone X. One would be a direct successor to the iPhone X, another would be a significantly larger cousin with the biggest smartphone screen Apple has yet produced, and the third would be a cheaper version that makes some concessions for cost.

The source, Bloomberg, cites “people familiar with the products.” This report follows several rumors from various points in Apple’s supply chain that have described a similar lineup. The launches are still months away (they will likely come during September, October, or November, given Apple’s past releases), so plans are still subject to change.

According to the report, every model will come with a TrueDepth sensor array for Face ID instead of the Touch ID fingerprint reader. Each would also have an edge-to-edge screen. In other words, the iPhone X is the model for the next wave of Apple smartphones, not the iPhone 8 design whose basic elements can be traced back to 2014’s iPhone 6.

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apple – Ars Technica

Chinese discount phone makers were supposed to rival Apple’s iPhone globally. Instead, they’re dying off within China

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Ever since iPhones officially went on sale in China back in 2009, pundits have claimed that local production of cheaper smartphones would not only block Apple’s growth prospects in China but also invade smartphone markets globally. They were wrong, here’s why.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

A New Test Can Read Your Future Child’s Genome While They’re Still in the Womb

Prenatal testing is hardly a new concept — in fact, for parents-to-be, it’s standard practice throughout the course of a normal pregnancy. The gamut of tests available range from routine screenings to highly specific panels that can determine the overall health of the developing fetus, as well as assess its risk for a growing number of genetic conditions. In fact, by using the parents’ genomes, researchers have been able to construct a complete genetic portrait of a developing fetus for nearly a decade. Since the process is invasive, complicated, and costly, it hasn’t yet become commonplace for expectant parents to have their future child’s genome sequenced and analyzed as part of routine prenatal care. But that could be changing.

A new blood-based fetal genetic test, developed by a team at the Beijing Genomics Institute in China, is much simpler than existing methods and can be performed as early as the first trimester of pregnancy. When a person is pregnant, fetal cells can be detected in their blood. The new method scours a sample of the pregnant person’s blood for the most intact-appearing fetal cells, then sequences the DNA.

The team published their research in the journal Prenatal Diagnosis earlier this week. Using the new technique, they successfully sequenced the genomes of two fetuses in the womb. One was found to have gene variants that have been linked to cancer of the bowel, intestinal disorders, and liver disease. The other had a gene variant that’s been linked to a salt imbalance disorder.

A graphic of a strand of DNA colored turquoise blue, on a blue and black background. A new fetal genetic test could bring an unborn fetus' DNA into such close focus.
Image Credit: Creative Commons

While the technique certainly improves upon the previous one, there is concern that the technology may be advancing more rapidly than the general public’s understanding of genetic risk. The impact a gene variant has on an individual’s risk for developing a condition in their lifetime varies depending on other factors — like environment and lifestyle. Discovering the presence of some genetic variants in a fetus who has not yet been exposed to the world, or developed any kind of lifestyle may ultimately carry a very small risk. But in other cases the presence of some variants, like those tied to childhood cancers, could be significant enough that parents-to-be decide to terminate the pregnancy.

Developmental disorders, which are not necessarily life-threatening, would be found somewhere between these two extremes on the spectrum of risk; such knowledge could influence a couple’s decision over whether to continue a pregnancy. These less-well-defined places on the spectrum have been central to the debate over prenatal testing since its inception. Even if this new technique succeeds in making whole-genome testing of fetuses more widely accessible, it likely won’t do much to quell that debate.

For many, the true test of a prenatal screening’s value is its ability to detect a condition that can be remedied or mitigated before birth or very soon after. Experimental in-utero treatments have been progressing parallel to prenatal testing for years, and CRISPR continues to expand our options for treating diseases long believed to be untreatable. While there are still many aspects that remain murky, one thing is abundantly clear: a new era of prenatal testing has been born.

The post A New Test Can Read Your Future Child’s Genome While They’re Still in the Womb appeared first on Futurism.


Apple iPhone X Users Report They’re Unable to Take Calls

Owners of the pricey iPhone X have been making their way to online forums to complain about being unable to take calls on their handsets.

According to multiple reports, hundreds of users have been affected by a new software flaw that results in their phone’s display freezing.

They’ve taken to Apple’s official support forum to warn others about the latest iPhone X bug. Apparently, they’re receiving calls but cannot answer them because the “slide to answer” function is nowhere to be found.

One user said: “Sometimes the screen does not turn on and this problem can last for a few seconds or remains permanent until I do a forced reboot. They have already sent my phone to service.”

Another explained: “I have the same issue. I have updated to the last OS and still am having the same issues.

The user also said they are “having issues with CarPlay not being recognized sometimes or freezing or the (non-jailbroken) iOS Springboard rebooting while using the phone and specially while CarPlay is active.”

Apple hasn’t commented on the situation, but it’s thought that the company has learnt about the issue and is telling customers to restart their iPhone X. However, according to users, this fix is only temporary. A forum poster claims that it lasts for “15 more calls”, but the problem soon comes back.

While the forum post focuses on the iPhone X, a user quickly points out that this issue extends to some of Apple’s other smartphones. “This happening to literally all iPhones from iPhone SE , 6, 6s, 7 n [and]  X models,” they said.

But after completing a back-up and resetting their handset through the computer, the user suggested that they were able to eradicate the bug. Someone else said they’re having this issue with WhatsApp, too.

A commenter explained that most iPhone X users they know “are facing these issues including my friends and colleagues.”

They said: “There is also another issue i found with proximity sensor while in call. The display doesn’t come back on even when i take away the phone from my ears while on call.”

iDrop News

Cheetahs’ ears help them run, and they’re not the only animal whose ears do double duty

Animal ears may not get as much attention as cool eyes or weird noses, but the glorious cheetah owes its running prowess in part to its inner ear.

The cheetah is, famously, the fastest land animal; it can run up to 65 miles per hour. During these sprints, its muscles are straining hard, but its head remains completely still so the cheetah doesn’t lose balance. New research, published today in the journal Scientific Reports, suggests this is because the cheetah’s inner ear (the part inside, which we don’t see) is unique among large cats.

Researchers used high-resolution imaging to look at the skulls of 21 animals, including seven modern cheetahs, other large cats, and a closely related cheetah that is now extinct. Based on the scans,…

Continue reading…

The Verge – All Posts

iPhone X doomsayers lack basic reading comprehension skills (or they’re purposefully dishonest)

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Assorted media venues lit up when AppleInsider, based on actually reading an analyst’s note, reported that the current iPhone X may be discontinued after one year. Unfortunately, many of those reports failed to accurately convey substance or context of the rumor, instead opting to weave a narrative they seemed intent on telling.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

How to Use Animoji on iPhone X (They’re More Fun Than You Think!)

Animoji is a new feature that currently is only available on the iPhone X. The technology required for Animoji is really incredible and the potential applications are far-reaching. For now, you can animate various characters in ten-second videos and send them to friends. You can be a unicorn, the poop emoji, a panda, a chicken, and more. When you move your face, the Animoji automatically moves with you. With Animoji, you are essentially animating your own character, as though you were in a cartoon but from the comfort of your iPhone. Here’s how to use Animoji on your iPhone X.

Related: Opinion: Animojis Are the Most Exciting New Feature of the iPhone X

How to Use Animoji on iPhone X

  • Open the Messages app and open an existing message.
  • At the very bottom, you’ll see small ovals presenting different options and apps for within Messages. Locate the oval with a little hollering monkey and tap on it.
  • If you don’t see the options at the bottom of your screen, tap on the App Store “A” icon, then select the oval icon that’s a hollering monkey.

  • You should now be on the Animoji screen within Messages.
  • One the very left, you can scroll through the different characters. Select one.
  • Hold your iPhone up to your face. As you move your face, the character’s face will automatically move as well.
  • To record, tap the large red button next to the Animoji character.
  • While recording, you can speak, sing, and generally move with regular expressions and watch as the Animoji character does the same. After ten seconds, it will automatically stop recording.
  • Once it stops recording, you can tap the trash can to delete it, the arrow in a circle to replay it, or the arrow to send it.

  • Once you’ve sent the Animoji, you can tap and hold the Animoji video you’ve sent and tap Save to save it to your Photos. From there, you can share it with social media and other people from there.
  • Alternatively, you could 3D Touch the Animoji video you’ve sent, then tap the Share icon in the lower left-hand corner and do what you want with it from there, whether you want to send it via text or other format.

Luckily, Animoji recordings save as a regular video file. Which means you can share them with friends or post them on social media, even if they have an old iPhone or don’t have an iPhone at all.


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Senate Democrats say they’re a vote shy of reviving net neutrality. They’re doomed to fail anyway.

Republicans control Congress, after all, and Trump could veto — but Democrats have other plans in mind

Senate Democrats announced on Monday that they’re just one vote short of reviving the U.S. government’s net neutrality rules.

That might sound like a major victory for staunch supporters of the open internet. Not exactly.

The U.S. Congress isn’t actually that much closer to bringing back regulations that require telecom giants like AT&T, Charter, Comcast* and Verizon to treat all web traffic equally. That’s because net neutrality crusaders on Capitol Hill don’t have a solid base of support yet in the House — and certainly aren’t going to win the backing of President Donald Trump.

Recall that the Federal Communications Commission under its Republican leader, Chairman Ajit Pai, spearheaded a vote in December that scrapped the U.S. government’s net neutrality rules. Those safeguards had treated internet service providers like old-school telephone utilities, aiming to stop them from blocking, slowing down or otherwise interfering with web traffic.

Pai’s move left supporters of the open web apoplectic. Companies like Etsy, consumer groups like Free Press and state attorneys general around the country soon threatened to sue. Tech giants like Facebook and Google promised to offer their legal aid, too. And Democratic members of Congress said they would try to undo the FCC’s vote with a vote of their own.

Lawmakers have the power to review, and potentially replace, actions by the FCC and other agencies using a little-known law called the Congressional Review Act. In the Senate, it takes a meager 30 votes to force the chamber to debate an issue like net neutrality, then 51 votes to kill the FCC’s decision.

Democrats crossed the 30-vote threshold last week. And they announced Monday night they had 50 votes in favor of restoring the net neutrality rules that Pai eliminated, just one short of what they need. The leaders of that movement saw that as cause for celebration.

“There is a tsunami of Congressional and grassroots support to overturn the FCC’s partisan and misguided decision on net neutrality,” said Sen. Ed Markey, who is leading the charge.

But that milestone never really was in doubt. Democrats boast 49 votes in the chamber, after all, a tally that includes independents like Sen. Bernie Sanders. As expected, they’re sticking together and backing an effort to revive net neutrality protections. Helping them reach 50 votes is one Republican lawmaker, Sen. Susan Collins, who’s previously criticized the FCC for ignoring Americans’ strong views about the open internet.

Things will be different in the House. There, Democrats have 193 votes; they typically need 216 to prevail. Even if they do somehow succeed, though, their proposal would then require the sign off of the president, who has publicly called net neutrality rules an “attack on the internet.” Of course, Congress could try again, aiming to override Trump’s veto. But that would require even more, harder-to-find votes.

Put more succinctly, the news Monday means everything and nothing. Democrats are one small step closer to net neutrality in the Senate, and many large, potentially insurmountable steps away from actually restoring those rules.

For party leaders, though, a loss might still be its own sort of win. Democrats believe net neutrality is a debate that might drive votes — especially millennials — to show up at the ballot box come November. So even if lawmakers fail to restore the U.S. government’s open internet rules in the coming weeks, they hope can leverage it to win something bigger: more seats in Congress.

Or, more votes for the next net neutrality debate.

“When we force a vote on this bill,” stressed Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, “Republicans in Congress will – for the first time — have the opportunity to right the administration’s wrong and show the American people whose side they’re on: big ISPs and major corporations or consumers, entrepreneurs and small business owners.”

* Comcast, through its NBCU arm, is an investor in Vox Media, which owns this website.

Recode – All

Coal Power Plants Are More Than Just an Environmental Burden — They’re Economically Cumbersome, Too

Europe’s Coal Plants

With European countries shifting towards renewable energy sources, coal power plants are increasingly becoming burdensome to operate. Much of this comes from the increasing costs of European carbon allowances, the permits needed to allow for greenhouse gas emissions, and from plans by seven European nations to end coal power by 2030, or even earlier.

According to a report published on December 8 by U.K.-based think-tank Carbon Tracker Initiative, 54 percent of coal plants in Europe are incurring losses. This number is expected to increase to 97 percent by 2030.

A chart showing the decreasing cash flow of coal power. Image credit: Bloomberg
The cost, in Euros, to run a coal power plant by their cumulative capacity. (Image credit: Bloomberg)

That won’t be a problem for the seven nations — Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal and the U.K. — which plan to close down coal power plants by that time, with 27 percent of currently operating plants planning to close before 2030. However, some utilities are expected to keep coal plants online even after 2030, the report said.

Saving on Costs, Saving the Environment

The burden of coal is made more obvious by the falling cost of renewables, like solar and wind. Carbon Tracker’s report notes that by 2024 and 2027, building new onshore wind and solar plants will be cheaper than maintaining existing coal power plants. Added to this is the expected increase in European carbon allowance costs, tripling to $ 37 (€31) a ton by 2030, according to Bloomberg

Renewable Energy Sources Of The Future [Infographic]
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“The changing economics of renewables, as well as air pollution policy and rising carbon prices, has put EU coal power in a death spiral,” said Carbon Tracker analyst Matthew Gray, one of the authors of the report, in a press release. “Utilities can’t do much to stop this other than drop coal or lobby governments and hope they will bail them out.”

Yet European nations are expected to save a lot of money by closing down coal plants. Germany, which is home to most of these unprofitable coal plants, would save on potential losses totaling some $ 14.1 billion (€12 billion). Others would see similar savings: $ 3.1 billion (€2.7 billion) for Poland, $ 2.5 billion (€2.2 billion) for the Czech Republic, $ 2.1 billion (€1.8 billion) for Spain, and around $ 1.9 billion (€1.7 billion) for the U.K.

“Coincidentally, by phasing out coal the UK is not only acting in the best interests of their citizens through improved air quality, but also the financial interests of utility shareholders,” the report reads. Coal, it would seem, is becoming a bad investment.

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