Recent Articles By Charlotte Henry [RSS]

Every 5G Enabled Smartphone

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The introduction of 5G is one of the hottest topics in telecoms right now. Superfast networks are being rolled out by providers in certain cities in both the US and the UK. However, not every model of smartphone will have access to 5G, not straight away, at least. Indeed, as TMO has reported, iPhone users will likely have to wait until 2020. DigitalTrends published a list of all other phones that support 5G connectivity.

There is absolutely no doubt Apple will pick up 5G eventually, the only question is “when?” At the moment, the whispers indicate that the iPhone giant won’t be looking to release a 5G iPhone until 2020 — so expect 5G capabilities on the iPhone XIS, or whatever numerically nightmarish name Apple adopts.

5G Not Coming to iPhone Until 2020

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5G network

iPhone users will not have 5G connectivity until 2020, according to Bloomberg. Citing people familiar with the plans, Bloomberg reported that Apple will follow the path it took with 3G and 4G and wait before offering devices that can connect to the 5G network. There is also speculation that Apple’s ongoing feud with chip-maker Qualcomm may have been involved with the time frame. However, Qualcomm’ CEO Steve Mollenkopf said recently that he expects that dispute to be resolved in the coming months.

Apple’s previous calculations — proven correct — were that the new networks and the first versions of rival smartphones would come with problems such as spotty coverage, making consumers less compelled to immediately make the jump. This time, 5G boosters argue the switch is a much bigger speed upgrade, making Apple’s decision to wait riskier. The networks will open the floodgates to new types of mobile computing, 5G advocates say.

Uber Hires Top US Official to Oversee Self-Driving Vehicles Project

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Uber self-driving Volvo

Uber has hired Nat Beuse, who served for a long time at the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. He will oversee the firm’s self-driving vehicles, Reuters reported. Mr. Beuse said Uber’s “approach to self-driving vehicles is an opportunity to make a difference in the safe commercialization of this revolutionary technology.”  The report noted that Mr. Buese is not the only public official to recently join a firm looking to make progress with self-driving vehicles. Both Waymo and General Motors have made similar hires.

“Uber’s approach to self-driving vehicles is an opportunity to make a difference in the safe commercialization of this revolutionary technology, which I’ve spent a considerable amount of time working with in recent years,” Beuse said in a statement released by Uber. “It’s clear to me that the team here is dedicated to prioritizing safety.” Last month, Uber asked Pennsylvania for permission to resume self-driving car testing on public roads and said it had improved the autonomous vehicle software, more than seven months after it suspended testing following a deadly crash in Arizona. Uber is still waiting for approval, a spokeswoman said.

Apple Should Introduce the Pixel's Call Screening Feature

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Call Screening on Google Pixel 3

Google has extended its AI-powered call screening function from the Pixel 3 to the Pixel 2 and XL. The call screening feature gives users the ability to ask a caller to give their name and reason for their call. The call recipient then gets a real-time transcription of the answer and can decide whether to reject the call, answer it or ask for more information. Ben Lovejoy of 9to5Mac would like to see Apple roll out call screening to the iPhone. I suspect he is not the only one.

Phone calls are the most annoying form of spam because they take the most time to deal with, so any tech which makes these less hassle is welcome. And, over time, telemarketers are going to experience more and more automated call rejections, and the effectiveness of the sales method will decline, effectively discouraging the use of the method altogether.  Apple already has all the necessary tech for this type of call-screening. Siri is capable of both speaking to callers and performing real-time speech-to-text transcription – the only new thing Apple would need to add is the interception of the call.

Where Next for Apple and the Music Industry

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Apple has a long history of working with the music industry. Steve Jobs changed how songs were sold when he got the music industry to go along with US$0.99 songs on iTunes. Apple changed the game again when it decided to try and compete directly with Spotify and launched Apple Music. An interesting piece of analysis in the Financial Times looks at where Apple and the music industry might go next.

Music executives say that after a late entrance to music streaming in 2015, the tech group has been gaining confidence and ratcheting up its efforts to grow Apple Music. The number of subscribers has grown to 56m, up from 50m in May, and Apple recently overtook Spotify to become the top music streaming service in the US, the world’s biggest music market by revenues. “Apple stumbled out of the gate with an inferior product three years ago. Apple Music did not become this spectacular product like iTunes was,” said a senior executive at one of the “big three” record labels.

UK Smartphone Vendors Criticised for Black Friday Smartphone Deals Failure

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LONDON – Online smartphone retailers in the UK are being criticized for wrongly refusing customers Black Friday deals. UK cellular service provider Vodafone experienced problems with its credit check systems. As a result, some customers wanting the cut-price deals were mistakenly declined. According to the BBC, “5% of consumers experienced the issue.”  Mobiles.co.uk, owned by Carphone Warehouse, was particularly affected as it attracted many customers on the back of significant deals for the iPhone XR. From the BBC’s report:

Carphone Warehouse-owned website Mobiles.co.uk and other online phone retailers are facing a backlash from customers wrongly refused Black Friday smartphone deals. A problem with Vodafone’s credit check systems meant that some applications submitted via the contract resellers were incorrectly turned down.

 

Three New Colors for Apple iPhone XS Cases

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Apple has released its iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max silicone cases in three new colors. The new colors are Hibiscus, Mellow Yellow and Pacific Green. The case costs $39. The company also introduced Apple Watch Sport Bands in the three new colors, at a cost $49. In addition, there are new Nike Sports bands in Celestial/Black, Olive Flak/Black and Smokey Mauve/Particle Beige for the same price. The cases will be ready for delivery on Monday and in-store on Tuesday (via MacRumors).

Three New Colors for Apple iPhone XS Cases

Qualcomm CEO Says Apple Dispute Close to Settling

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Apple suing Qualcomm over patent royalty payments

Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf told CNBC on Wednesday that his firm and Apple are “on the doorstep” of settling their ongoing dispute. He told Mad Money host Jim Cramer that they “do talk as companies.” He reiterated that he believes a resolution is likely in the last part of 2018 or early 2019. Apple has accused Qualcomm of taking an unfair cut of each iPhone. Meanwhile, Qualcomm has accused of Apple of stealing and bartering its trade secrets. Mr. Mollenkopf also discussed 5G rollout in the interview. He predicted that the 5G rollout will start in spring 2019.

“We’ve always talked about — I’ve been very consistent — that … the second half of this year and into next year is when we’re really on the doorstep of finding a resolution and we don’t see anything different than that,” the CEO said.

Apple VP: iPhone XR is 'Our Most Popular iPhone'

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iPhone XR in black, blue, and silver

According to Apple Vice President of Product Marketing, Greg Joswiak, the iPhone XR has “been our most popular iPhone each and every day since the day it became available.” During an interview with CNET on Wednesday, Mr. Joswiak was pushed on the much debated reports that alleged disspointing sales. However, he reiterated that the device has “has been the most popular and best-selling” iPhone since it hit the market. He also said that in recognition of World Aids Day, between 1-7 December Apple will donate $1 for every purchase via Apple Pay made at an Apple Store, on Apple.com and in the Apple Store app. The firm will also turn the logos at 125 Apple Stores red.

Apple’s iPhone XR has been outselling the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max every day since the cheaper, colorful phone hit the market last month. Greg Joswiak, Apple vice president of product marketing, told CNET in an interview Wednesday that the device has “been our most popular iPhone each and every day since the day it became available.”

How did Microsoft Become as Valuable as Apple?

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Microsoft and Apple are now worth nearly the same. A few years ago such a development would have been unthinkable. On Thursday, The New York Times had an interesting piece of analysis by Steve Lohr on how this happened. He said that Microsoft has “built on its strengths,” won its big bet on the cloud and was brave enough to walk away from bets it was losing (such as making smartphones). Mr. Lohr also notes that under CEO Satya Nadella “Microsoft has loosened up” and made its technology and culture more open.

Microsoft has become a case study of how a once-dominant company can build on its strengths and avoid being a prisoner of its past. It has fully embraced cloud computing, abandoned an errant foray into smartphones and returned to its roots as mainly a supplier of technology to business customers.