All posts in “Rumors”

An Amazon HQ2 clue? Strange web traffic hints at interest in this one county

Web traffic could provide a clue as to future commuter traffic from Amazon's HQ2.
Web traffic could provide a clue as to future commuter traffic from Amazon’s HQ2.

Image: Moment Editorial/Getty Images

The county board members of Arlington, Virginia might be doing a happy dance right about now, because it looks like Amazon is researching the shortlisted “Northern Virginia” area as a possible location for its second headquarters, HQ2.

Thanks to some seriously top-notch sleuthing from local news source, the outlet figured out that one of its articles was receiving an unusually high amount of traffic from an internal page featured on — one that is not visible to the public.

The article Amazon employees were viewing? A December 2017 article about Arlington’s environmental building accolades. The piece, entitled “County Wins Top Environmental Award from U.S. Green Building Council,” received over 6,000 page views and 3,500 unique visitors who were referred from an Amazon web page that cannot be reached normal public. The page is presumably only available to Amazon employees through an intranet.

Perhaps Amazon employees are checking out the green qualifications of a potential new home?

In January, Amazon announced a shortlist of candidates for its new HQ2 campus, which it says will bring thousands of jobs, and economic upsides a-plenty, to whichever city Amazon selects. Washington D.C. and two D.C. adjacent areas (Northern Virginia, VA and Montgomery County, MD) snagged three of the coveted spots, and there has been much speculation that Jeff Bezos has his sights set inside the Beltway. Arlington, VA is encompassed in Northern Virginia.

In its RFP for HQ2, Amazon emphasized its energy efficient and green building design preferences, saying it “will develop HQ2 with a dedication to sustainability.” Amazon did not specifically list building sustainability in its section on “Key preferences and decision drivers” — but it did list “site/building” opportunities among its top criterion. So given Amazon’s stated commitment to sustainable buildings, Arlington’s environmental policies, and its development of buildings that get a U.S. Green Building Council stamp of approval, could give it an edge.

Directing loads of Amazon employee web traffic to one article obviously doesn’t seal the deal for the new Amazon HQ2 — who knows what other articles and cities employees are checking out.

But hey, it’s definitely not a bad sign. Plus, who doesn’t love solving an internet mystery. Kudos, ARL Now. Kudos.

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Future iPhones might ditch your fingerprints completely, making creepy Face ID the norm

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Apple introduced a new biometric security feature, Face ID, with the iPhone X. The public hasn’t had a chance to try it out (if you haven’t been paying attention, the X doesn’t actually drop until Nov. 4) — but it’s probably just the first in a long line of Apple products that’ll use facial scanning.

Face ID might be coming to all future versions of Apple’s smartphones according to a new report from reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo wrote in an investors note provided to 9to5Mac that the company could totally abandon the Touch ID tech used in iPhones since the 5S in 2013 in favor of the new facial scanning system as early as next year.  

Kuo wrote that the new camera system behind Face ID, TrueDepth, is enough of a consumer incentive for Apple to move beyond Touch ID going forward. He called TrueDepth a “key selling point” for the next generation of iPhones, concluding that Apple will likely introduce the system across its product line to “capitalize on its clear lead in 3D sensing design and production for smartphones.”

This new insight settles the matter Kuo discussed in a report last month, when he wrote that Apple would likely wait to gauge consumer response to the new biometrics before totally ditching Touch ID. Kuo also predicted that premium next-gen iPads will adopt the TrueDepth system, which makes sense if Apple wants to position the camera and the features it enables as the top-level experience. 

But the market for the Touch ID-sporting iPhone 8 has been temperate as fans bide their time for the X (although others disagree). With the pent up demand for the X in mind, Apple might have bumped up the timetable for the decision to bring Face ID everywhere. 

This type of wide-scale adoption leaves the fingerprint scanners of the future in the lurch. Apple’s solution to keep the home button Touch ID with a bezel-free, edge-to-edge display was long rumored to be a display-embedded fingerprint scanner. 

Apple went in a different direction with the X – but other smartphone makers, most significantly Chinese company Vivo, are still rumored to be working on next-gen embedded fingerprint scanners. Kuo believes that other companies will embrace 3D facial scanning tech due to Apple’s influence and the high costs of developing the embedded scanners, which could doom the thumbprint scan in the long run.     

The TrueDepth system is rumored to be one of the main reasons that the X is delayed, and some people aren’t too keen on the idea of Apple constantly scanning their face. Still, FaceID looks like one of the main draws for the highly anticipated iPhone X. 

We can’t say for sure if the company will actually be saying goodbye to Touch ID forever with the next round of iPhones, since this is just a rumor — but if the X works as well as advertised, our faces could replace our fingerprints for good. 2b4a 69e3%2fthumb%2f00001

Steve Jobs would hate this rumored iPhone accessory

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Apple took a page out of Samsung’s design book with an edge-to-edge OLED screen for the iPhone X — and if a recent rumor is true, the Cupertino company might adopt another staple of the Note line for iPhones in the not-so-distant future. 

iPhones could be given a stylus-type accessory as soon as 2019, according to a rumor from “industry sources” provided to the Korea Herald and picked up by MacRumors. Apple engineers are reportedly already at work on a device for the iPhone in the same vein as the Apple Pencil, which has been compatible with iPad Pro tablets since 2015. 

The sources claim Apple is “in talks” with several companies that could partner to make the pens. The device will likely be a “supercapacitor” type stylus, which is cheaper than the electro-magnetic resonance technology Samsung employs in the Note line that requires panels underneath the phone’s screen.  

Revered former Apple CEO Steve Jobs was vehemently against a stylus for the iPhone, famously mocking the idea when he unveiled the first version of the device a decade ago. 

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But Apple has broken from some of Jobs’ doctrine since he passed in 2011, and he notably walked back some of his own lofty declarations even while he was alive. Jobs was against phablets too — and now the Plus versions of the iPhone are an integral part of Apple’s smartphone strategy.  

Apple is rumored to introduce a massive 6.46-inch iPhone next year, which could be the perfect launching point for a stylus to ramp up productivity. The big screen phones have been around for a few years now, and bumping the size could serve as a justification for what would likely be a pricy add-on.

We can’t say for sure whether we’ll be writing notes on our iPhones in two years, since these are just early rumors, but one thing is for sure: If we do get an iPhone version of the Apple Pencil, Jony Ive & Co. had better recreate the sublime design perfection of the Apple Pencil Case, Mashable correspondent Jack Morse’s favorite thing in the entire world. 2b4a 69e3%2fthumb%2f00001

OnePlus 5T with an edge-to-edge screen could be coming real soon

The OnePlus 5 is still one of the best values in Android of 2017.
The OnePlus 5 is still one of the best values in Android of 2017.

Image: raymond wong/mashable

Inventory for the OnePlus 5, the best value for a premium Android phone, have reportedly dried up. All models of the phone are listed as out of stock on the company’s website, which could mean a revamped model is on its way.

According to a report from GizmoChina, OnePlus might be preparing to launch the OnePlus 5T, a redesigned version of its 2017 flagship with a larger edge-to-edge display to better compete with phones like the iPhone X, Galaxy Note 8, and Google Pixel 2

It would seem odd for a company to release an updated version of its phone so soon — the OnePlus 5 launched to rave reviews only four months ago — but it wouldn’t be an unprecedented move.

Last year, OnePlus replaced the OnePlus 3 with the 3T less than half a year after its release, and it didn’t appear to hurt the company or its bottom line.

When I asked OnePlus’s head of marketing Kyle Kiang why it was launching the 3T so quickly after the 3, he told me the company’s small size and scrappiness means it doesn’t need follow annual launch cycles. It launches new products when they’re ready, and if that means it’s sooner than fans expect, then so be it.

The report claims the new 5T might come with a larger 6-inch 18:9 aspect ratio display with curved edges. The screen’s resolution might also finally get a bump up from 1,920 x 1,080 to 2,160 x 1,080. That makes it higher-resolution display than the OnePlus 5’s, but still short of the crisper displays Samsung and LG use in their flagship phones.

Not else is known about the purported 5T, except that it might resemble a Galaxy S8 with slim bezels above and below the display:

Depending on how you like your phones, that’s either extremely flattering or disappointing.

When OnePlus launched the 3T, it included a slightly faster processor, better front-facing camera, and larger battery. It’s possible a 5T could include improvements beyond the screen. What’s likely to remain is the dual camera system on the back, which enables Portrait mode like on the iPhone 8 Plus.

And if the 3T is any indication, the 5T could also cost more. OnePlus built its brand allegiance with premium design and specs with affordable pricing, but it’s already shown that it’s not against hiking prices with each new device. Even if you don’t like the higher pricing, OnePlus’ phones still usually cost hundreds less than competitors. With Samsung and Apple’s best phones now at the $1,000 price range, OnePlus has plenty of wiggle room between $500-$1,000.

We’ve reached out to OnePlus for more information on the OnePlus 5’s out-of-stock status. b028 0065%2fthumb%2f00001

New Galaxy Note 8 leaked render reveals a huge screen

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We’re finally getting a sense of what the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 might look like ahead of its expected clash with the iPhone 8 later this year. The latest piece information to emerge is a beautiful render of the phone posted to Slashleaks, which was first spotted by Forbes

In the image, we get a good look at what is purportedly the phone’s front display, and it looks just like the Galaxy S8 from earlier this year — only even bigger.

As you can see, the Note 8’s “infinity display” is the central focus of this particular render, taking up almost the entirety of the phone’s frontside. It also appears that there is no home button on the device. Obviously, we can’t be sure of the exact dimensions via this purported leak, but it appears to conform to the rumors of a 6.3-inch edge-to-edge display, which puts the next-generation Note 0.1-inch bigger than the Galaxy S8+.

The render also appears to support the new 18:5:9 aspect ratio for the Note 8, which Samsung shifted to earlier this year with the S8. Notably, there are also rumors that Apple will opt for the taller displays with the iPhone 8 too, as smartphone users begin to embrace bigger screens. 

The details here appear to match the early release cases marketed by MobileFun, a UK-based e-retailer known for dropping case designs well before the final versions of the devices they’ll hold are unveiled. The site has already placed its bets on the final version of the iPhone 8, posting its next-gen Apple cases for sale last month.    

The case shows off the big screen -- but also reveals the fingerprint sensor.

The case shows off the big screen — but also reveals the fingerprint sensor.

Other case designs for the Note 8 have also emerged showing off what might be the phone’s ports, most notably that it has a headphone jack, proving that Samsung isn’t quite ready to ditch 3.5mm wires for good. If Samsung keeps up the similarities to the Galaxy S8, the Note 8 could come packaged with the same AKG by Harman headphones as an accessory, along with an S Pen.     

The Note 8 is also expected to come with powerful dual rear cameras, a Snapdragon 835 processor, 6 GB of RAM, and a compact 3,300 mAh battery. That’s all exciting — but unless there’s a big change and Samsung somehow one-ups Vivo, the Note 8 is slated to repeat the S8’s one major design flaw with an awkwardly-placed rear fingerprint sensor right next to the phone’s camera. 

All these premium features could push the Note 8’s price above $1,000, which is also a possibility for the iPhone 8. We won’t know for sure about any of this until the phones are officially announced later this year. Samsung is expected to announce the phone in August, one month ahead of the iPhone 8. If the success of the S8 is any indication, smartphone fans will line up to buy this next generation of devices with gigantic screens, no matter what the cost is. 

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