A Deep Dive Into Apple's A13 Bionic Chip

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Om Malik wrote a great dive into the A13 Bionic chip that powers the latest iPhones.

Apple’s new chip contains 8.5 billion transistors. Also, there are six CPU cores: Two high-performance cores running at 2.66 GHz (called Lightning), and four efficiency cores (called Thunder). It has a quad-core graphics processor, an LTE modem, an Apple-designed image processor, and an octa-core neural engine for machine intelligence functions that can run over five trillion operations per second.

Big numbers are amazing, and I still marvel at the fact that this chip can do five trillion operations per second. That is astoundingly fast. Five trillion seconds is 158,550 years. Just one trillion seconds ago (31,710 years) was before written history, before the pyramids were built.

Apple Moves to Trademark 'Slofie'

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Apple wants to trademark ‘slofie’, it’s term for slow-motion video clips you can now take with iPhone 11.

Apple has applied to the USPTO for a trademark on the term “Slofie” in terms of “downloadable computer software for use in capturing and recording video.” Don’t worry, it’s not trying to own the cultural landscape — rather, this is largely to prevent app developers and phone makers from ‘borrowing’ the term for their own features.

At least Apple isn’t trying to pull an Ohio State University, which was recently denied its effort to trademark the word “the.”

Journalist & TMO Contributor Charlotte Henry (#2) - TMO Background Mode Interview

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Charlotte Henry on Background Mode

Charlotte is a London-based technical journalist. A self described media junkie, she writes about Apple—and now for the Mac Observer as well. She has also written for City A.M. (London’s daily business tabloid,) Computer Business Review, and the Independent on Sunday. Her new book is: Not Buying It.

In this special edition of BGM, Charlotte chats about her reactions to Apple’s September 10 iPhone event. She noted how Apple is in a new balancing act, promoting hardware to sell services—and vice versa. Charlotte told me about how pleased she is with the new iPad and plans to buy one. Then we took a closer look at the value proposition comparing the iPhone Xr to the iPhone 11. Charlotte also filled us in on her experience watching the event in the Apple London flagship store.

iPhone 11's U1 Chip Could Spark a Revolution

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You wouldn’t know it because it wasn’t mentioned during the iPhone 11 keynote, but the new iPhones have a new chip. Called Ultra Wideband, or “U1” it’s a way for iPhones to figure out their position in 3D space relative to other U1 devices. Apple mentions the use-case of a person pointing their U1 iPhone at another U1 iPhone to send files over AirDrop. Jason Snell writes that this is just the beginning.

But the possible applications of UWB go way beyond AirDrop and tracking tags. Decawave’s Viot says potential applications include smart home tech, augmented reality, mobile payments, the aforementioned keyless car entry, and even indoor navigation. (And it’s not a power hog, either—Viot says that Decawave’s latest UWB chip uses one-third of the power of a Bluetooth LE chip when in beacon mode, as a tracking tile would be.)

T-Mobile Offers iPhone 11 for 50% Off With a Trade In

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T-Mobile has an aggressive strategy for the iPhone 11: People who sign up for a plan and trade in an old iPhone can get the iPhone 11 for up to 50% off.

Here’s the full pricing break down from T-Mobile: Save $550 when you trade in an iPhone XS Max 64GB or 256GB; save $500 when you trade in an iPhone XS 64GB or 256GB; and save $350 when you trade in an iPhone XR 64GB or 128GB, X 64GB, 8, 8 Plus, 7 or 7 Plus.

Those are great deals, especially for people with older models like the iPhone 7.

iPhone Naming Conventions Are a Mess

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Ken Segall writes (Sep. 9) that it’s time to dump both the “i” in iPhone as well as the alphabet soup.

I think it’s amazingly cool that the i-thing happened, but everything has a beginning and an end. The trick is knowing when to end.

Smarts and forward-thinking always beats clinging to the past.

The truth is, Apple has already made the i-decision. It’s been years since a new i-product appeared. Apple Watch, Apple Music, Apple Pay, Apple Card—all would be i-things under the old rules.

Apple dropped the alphabet soup on Sep. 10 along with the bizarre “X” vs. “ten.” Will the “i” be next?

Phone Carrier Visible Will Offer the iPhone 11

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Visible, a prepaid phone carrier running on Verizon’s network, plans to offer the iPhone 11 to customers. The company will carry all three devices (Phone 11, Pro, and Pro Max) as of September 20, offering 0% financing, no money down, no upgrade fees, overnight free shipping. Visible is also running a promotion with Mastercard where if you buy the phone from them, you’ll get a $200 virtual card to use anywhere you’d like. Bookmark Visible’s website and put it on your calendar for September 20. You can also read my review of Visible here.