All posts in “Rumors”

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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Apple iPhone 8’s wireless charging may be late for launch, report says

Image: Eric Thayer/Getty Images

No, the Apple iPhone rumors are not done. You will take your iPhone rumor medicine, and like it. 

Actually, you might not like this one. 

In a late night Twitter message on Friday, John Gruber, an Apple-focused writer and podcaster who occasionally comes up with early info on the company’s products, delivered some new details around rumors of the iPhone offering wireless (inductive) charging. 

“I’ve heard that inductive charging will (a) be sold separately, and (b) might be late, waiting for iOS 11.1 (a la Portrait mode last year),” wrote Gruber. “I’m not sure if the holdup is hardware or software. And they could catch up in next three weeks.”

Although Apple hasn’t confirmed any features in the upcoming versions of the iPhone, a number of rumors have surfaced in recent months predicting a wireless charging component in the new device. 

The notion of an iPhone equipped with inductive charging immediately gained traction back in 2014 after Apple unveiled the Apple Watch, which features a wireless charging dock. If Gruber’s tip is accurate and that functionality isn’t built into the next iPhone at launch, we could instead see Apple offer a separate iPhone case that adds support post-release. 

Of course, this is all speculation since we have no proof, but we’ll know for sure soon. Apple is expected to release the next generation of the iPhone, celebrating the device’s 10th anniversary, sometime in September. 

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Apple’s upcoming iPhone 8 might come without Touch ID, and I’m worried

New reports claim Apple might be focusing on a different type of sensor for unlocking your iPhone.
New reports claim Apple might be focusing on a different type of sensor for unlocking your iPhone.

Image: Lili Sams/Mashable

Uh-oh. Apple’s upcoming iPhone 8 may not have that under-the-display fingerprint scanner after all; instead, it may rely on 3D face scanning for unlocking the display.

The news comes via two new reports; Bloomberg and KGI Securities, whose Ming-Chi Kuo says the OLED-based iPhone 8 — that’s the big-screened one that we’re all waiting for — probably won’t have fingerprint recognition at all. 

Kuo says that the technical challenges for embedding an under-the-display fingerprint sensor are still too great, despite the fact that Vivo and Qualcomm recently showing that it can be done. Current under-display fingerprint sensors do not penetrate OLED screens well enough, Kuo claims, and that they necessitate a “more complex panel pixel design.”

Because of these issues, Kuo flat out predicts that the iPhone 8 will not support fingerprint recognition at all. Instead, the phone will have “3D sensing for facial recognition,” with the added benefit of improved selfie quality. 

Bloomberg‘s report is a bit more cautious. It claims that the phone will have a new 3D sensor that would let you unlock your iPhone, authenticate payments, and launch secure apps. Apple’s intent is not for it to replace Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner, the source told Bloomberg, but the report does state that Apple has “faced challenges” integrating the Touch ID into the new phone’s screen. 

I’d be very surprised if Apple shunned Touch ID altogether and replaced it with a 3D sensor, however advanced it may be. Face and iris scanning has existed in phones for a while — I tested ZTE’s smartphone implementation of eye scanning back in March 2015 — and Samsung’s Galaxy S8 has both iris scanning and face scanning as a way to unlock the phone.

The problem is that none of the implementations I’ve seen worked quite right; they required you to hold your phone in front of your face, which is annoying, and they were too slow and too unreliable. Bloomberg‘s report claims Apple’s new sensor would be able to scan your face “within a few hundred milliseconds,” and would work even if the device is laying flat on the table. This sounds comforting, but I’m still not convinced it can match the simplicity of touching a spot on your phone and having it instantly unlock, with a very low failure rate. 

Samsung Galaxy S8's face scanning requires you to hold your phone up, 8 to 20 inches from your face.

Samsung Galaxy S8’s face scanning requires you to hold your phone up, 8 to 20 inches from your face.

Image: Lili Sams/Mashable

I unlock my phone hundreds of times per day (currently, it’s an LG G6 with a fingerprint sensor on the back, but I’ve used dozens of phones with a built-in fingerprint sensor, both on the front and back). Sometimes, I hold it in front of me. Sometimes, I do it as I’m taking it out of my pocket. Sometimes, I do it while the phone’s screen is facing away from me.

It’s just something that I don’t think about; as I pick up my phone, I blindly navigate my digit towards that fingerprint sensor, and the phone is unlocked before I even look at it. And if you use Apple Pay, you’re probably used to having your finger on the sensor while holding the phone next to a payment terminal. It’s hard to imagine a 3D face recognition sensor, no matter how advanced, working well in all of these situations. 

It makes much more sense for Apple to introduce this new technology alongside a fingerprint sensor. And even if the under-the-display fingerprint tech is not mature enough yet for volume production, I’m willing to bet Apple would rather move the fingerprint sensor to the back instead of removing it altogether. 

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Apple rumored to turn the iPhone into a health care records powerhouse

Apple might be overhauling the iPhone to revolutionize medical records.
Apple might be overhauling the iPhone to revolutionize medical records.

Image: lili sams/mashable

Apple is focused on health care more than ever before, and if recent rumors hold any weight, the iPhone could become an essential component of your future visits to the doctor’s office.  

The company’s fledgling health care unit reportedly has a team pursuing an ambitious goal: to build a clinical data and record keeping platform for the iPhone. The project aims to create a system that would give every user a unified health profile for easy access to information about every check-up, test result, prescription, and more, essentially putting your entire medical history right in your pocket.     

A platform like this could help to solve the health care industry’s data sharing problems by making it easier to exchange information, which is referred to as “interoperability.” It would conceivably bring order to the jumbled, disparate systems that currently manage our medical histories, which are typically scattered across the records systems of multiple physician’s offices and hospitals rather than one centralized location.   

The team is reaching out to “developers, hospitals, and other industry groups” to bring them into the fold, according to CNBC, which cites a half-dozen people familiar with the project in its report.  

A platform like this would require an entirely new cloud-based system to host all that data, and one of CNBC’s sources claimed that the Apple team is scouting start-ups in the space for potential acquisitions. Picking one of those companies won’t be a matter of cost, since Apple has more than $250 billion of cash on hand; instead, finding the perfect fit to manage the system will be more important.  

The Apple team has had discussions with multiple groups that are already working to create a more unified system for health records, according to the sources. They specifically named The Argonaut Project, which aims to cement interoperability standards across the industry and The Carin Alliance, which is focused on improving consumer access to their digital health records. 

A shift in focus

The sources told CNBC that the work represents a shift in Apple’s health care strategy, which has thus far been centered on fitness tracking and wellness with the Apple Watch and the iPhone’s HealthKit. 

That’s not to say that work has been unsuccessful; the Apple Watch made headlines recently after it was used as a platform to detect a common heart abnormality more accurately than conventional methods, and a non-invasive glucose monitoring prototype spotted on Tim Cook’s wrist could make the wearable an essential medical device for millions. But bringing a revolutionary health care feature to the iPhone, the most popular smartphone in the U.S., could make the company a heavy hitter in the industry immediately.   

Apple declined to comment on CNBC’s report, and its reps didn’t respond to our requests for additional information. 

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This could be our first look at the iPhone 8’s glorious edge-to-edge screen

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Apple’s completely packed WWDC product announcements provided a brief moment of distractio, but we’re now back to our regularly scheduled programming of iPhone 8 leaks.

The newest iPhone 8 leaks show what appear to be the first images of Apple’s next flagship.

First published to Imgur and then shared on Reddit, the images reveal a front-facing glass panel indicating an edge-to-edge display, a glass back panel with a cutout for the vertically-aligned dual cameras, and a part for the rear cameras with integrated LED flash and microphone.

The second image in the album shows the purported iPhone 8 panel (the two parts farthest to the right) next to what could be the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus rear panels on the left.

“I have a friend in the industry who just sent me these. He said the Chinese manufacturers got these last week,” says the caption. “Big surprise for the iPhone 7s/7s Plus—supposedly it’s getting wireless charging as well!”

While both panels match up with a handful of previous rumors, there’s still a strong possibility that it’s an elaborate fake or prototype part that was scrapped. 

One thing that’s throwing us off is the claim the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus will get wireless charging. While noted KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed it’d be the case earlier this year, newer reports have walked the rumor back.

Fake or not, the iPhone 8’s edge-to-edge display could still look very similar.

Prominent mobile leaker and concept artist Benjamin Geskin, who has released a swath of iPhone 8 leaks in recent months, claims the iPhone 8’s display will stretch from corner to corner with a cutout for the earpiece, FaceTime camera, and other sensors. You can see his concept below.

This year’s new iPhone is expected to be one of Apple’s biggest yet, considering this year’s the iPhone’s 10th anniversary.

Based on previous rumors, we’re expecting the iPhone 8 (or “X” or “Edition”) to be slightly larger than the 4.7-inch iPhone 7. The key difference, however, will be the move to an edge-to-edge display that fits a larger a 5.8-inch OLED screen.

Apple will reportedly ditch the aluminum design it’s used since the iPhone 6 and return to a “glass sandwich” design last seen on the iPhone 4S, with glass on the backside to allow wireless charging and stainless steel for the frame.

The iPhone 8’s also expected to get rid of the home button/Touch ID fingerprint sensor and move that underneath the display. If Apple pulls it off, it will certainly set it apart from the Samsung Galaxy S8, which also has no home button, but has a fingerprint sensor in the worst possible position on the back of the phone.

What’s real and what’s fake? As always, it’s important to take all these leaks with a huge grain of salt. It’s only real when Apple announces it, and that’s likely not going to happen for another few  months. So sit tight, enjoy and your current smartphone, and chill because there’s still some waiting to do.

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