Officials in Key West took the initial steps toward banning the sale of sunscreens containing two ingredients that could be harmful to coral reefs. The Miami Herald reports the Key West City Commission approved the measure 7-0 on Tuesday night. Commissioner J… Read More
Apple’s 2019 iPhones could feature upgraded front-facing and rear cameras, redesigned internal layouts, and Lightning ports, according to new details known leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer (aka OnLeaks) shared with Indian site ComparaRaja.
Over the course of the past week, Hemmerstoffer has shown off two possible prototype iPhone designs Apple is allegedly working on, featuring different three camera layouts. Today he’s offering up additional information on the cameras we can expect to see in the triple-lens model, which rumors have suggested will be a 6.5-inch OLED iPhone XS Max successor.
One of the alleged triple-lens 2019 iPhone prototypes
One rear camera will be 10 megapixels, while a second will come in at 14 megapixels. The details of the third sensor are apparently unknown. Right now, the iPhone XS and XS Max use two 12-megapixel cameras, one that’s telephoto and one that’s wide-angle.
Apple will presumably continue using both telephoto and wide-angle lenses, but this information isn’t included in the report. The renderings shared by Hemmerstoffer allege that Apple is still trying to decide between a horizontal triple lens camera layout or a square-shaped layout that would position the lenses vertically but staggered.
The front-facing TrueDepth camera system will reportedly use a 10-megapixel camera, up from 7 megapixels in the current version. Prior rumors and renderings have suggested the TrueDepth camera will take up less space on the iPhone’s display thanks to optimizations, allowing Apple to implement a smaller notch.
Internally, the 2019 iPhone with a triple-lens camera is said to have a redesigned internal layout with a “less L-shaped battery” that’s “almost a big square” with the “logic board located above the battery.”
The other the alleged triple-lens 2019 iPhone prototype
Hemmerstoffer says that the two prototype designs he’s shared renderings for do not feature USB-C ports, despite rumors suggesting Apple could transition from Lightning to USB-C in the 2019 iPhones.
All of the information from Hemmerstoffer is sourced from these two alleged prototype iPhones that he says are “still in the EVT stage” and have yet to be finalized, so it’s not clear yet if this information is accurate.
None of these details have been confirmed by a second source at this point in time either, so we’ll need to wait for further leaks to get a clearer picture of the features included in the 2019 iPhone lineup.
It’s the simple meme that’s taking over your social media feeds: the “10 Year Challenge,” where users upload side-by-side photos of themselves from a decade ago and now.
But it might not be so simple.
Facebook on Wednesday distanced itself from the “10 Year Challenge” after an article set off speculation that the social media giant could be secretly mining data from the photos to improve its facial recognition algorithms. It’s a scenario that those who have studied social media companies don’t rule out, despite Facebook’s denials.
The photo challenge gives Facebook “a perfect storm for machine learning,” said Amy Webb, a professor at NYU Stern School of Business with an upcoming book about how artificial intelligence can manipulate humans.
“It presented Facebook with a terrified opportunity to learn, to train their systems to better recognize small changes” in users’ appearances, she told CBS News.
The “10 Year Challenge” popped up last week and across Facebook, Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) and Twitter millions of people have participated. The challenge generated 5.2 million engagements on Facebook in just three days, according to the social media monitoring tool Talkwalker. It was the latest in a constant stream of social media crazes — like the “Bird Box” challenge and Top Nine photo collage — that enticed users to join in with little concern for safety and privacy. There are also viral hashtags like #MyFirstConcertWas, which get users to reveal answers to popular security questions.
Speculation about the meme’s ulterior motive flared up after Wired writer Kate O’Neill published an op-ed suggesting it wasn’t just harmless fun.
O’Neill pointed out that the viral challenge has filled Facebook with labeled, side-by-side user photos taken within a fixed period of time. That’s different, and easier to analyze, than the years of photos that users have already uploaded in no particular order. It’s also more useful for technology that’s trying to capture how people look and how they age.
She warned of “fraught consequences” that could come from this data, such as insurance companies kicking up coverage costs for people who seem to be aging quickly. (There has been no evidence so far that this is happening.)
Facebook issued a statement saying it had no role in starting the challenge and saw no benefit in it.
“This is a user-generated meme that went viral on its own. Facebook did not start this trend, and the meme uses photos that already exist on Facebook,” the company said. “Facebook gains nothing from this meme (besides reminding us of the questionable fashion trends of 2009). As a reminder, Facebook users can choose to turn facial recognition on or off at any time.”
But even if Facebook didn’t initiate the challenge, it has been using facial recognition intelligence for years to recognize users and people they are pictured with. It is also rolling out new products that rely on artificial intelligence, such as Portal, a video chat screen with a camera that can follow you around a room and automatically focus on your face.
The “10 Year Challenge” comes about a year after a similar effort from Google, one of Facebook’s biggest competitors. Google’s Arts & Culture app matches selfies with works of art that resemble the user. The app uses facial recognition algorithms to create side-by-side comparisons after users upload a photo.
Whatever Facebook gets out of the “10 Year Challenge,” Barr said it’s significant that people questioned its motive in the first place. After an avalanche of Facebook privacy scandals and data breaches in the past two years, now even a meme seems suspect.
“It’s good that finally, even though it took a couple days, eventually the conversation (began) of, ‘Wait a minute, did we just play into the hands of the tech giants again?'” Barr said. “At least that was part of the conversation.”
Google is implementing major new Play Store rules for how Android’s “SMS” and “Call Log” permissions are used. New Play Store rules will only allow certain types of apps to request phone call logs and SMS permissions, and any apps that don’t fit into Google’s predetermined use cases will be removed from the Play Store. The policy was first announced in October, and the policy kicks in and the ban hammer starts falling on non-compliant apps this week.
In that October blog post, Google laid out its vision for SMS and phone permissions for Google Play apps, saying, “Only an app that has been selected as a user’s default app for making calls or text messages will be able to access call logs and SMS, respectively.” That statement also comes with a host of exceptions, some of which were added after communicating with members of the developer community, but the end result is still that SMS and phone permissions will be heavily policed on the Play Store.
Google says the decision to police these permissions was made to protect user privacy. SMS and phone permissions can give an app access to a user’s contacts and everyone they’ve ever called, in addition to allowing the app to contact premium phone numbers that can charge money directly to the user’s cellular bill. Despite the power of these permissions, a surprising number of apps ask for SMS or phone access because they have other, more benign use cases. So to clean up the Play Store, Google’s current plan seems to be to (1) build more limited, replacement APIs for these benign use cases that don’t offer access to so much user data and (2) kick everyone off the Play Store who is still using the wide-ranging SMS and phone permissions for these more limited use cases.
Google set up a help page that covers the new rules and offers workarounds for some use cases. A recent addition to Android is a scoped API for SMS-based user verification, which will allow an app to ping a phone with an SMS and automatically fill in the code, all without using the powerful SMS permission. There are also intents for cases like starting an SMS message, sharing content to an SMS, and starting a phone call, which all work by handing off most of the work to the dedicated SMS app.
Google’s help page also lays out use cases that have been granted a “temporary exception” to use the SMS and phone permissions. Besides actual phone and SMS apps, Google allows backup and restore apps, enterprise and device management apps, caller ID and spam blocking apps, “companion” hardware apps (for instance, smartwatch or fitness tracker apps), cross-device synchronization apps, SMS-based financial transaction apps, budget apps (for tracking SMS spending), task automation apps, and proxy call apps.
Manual whitelisting of apps by a living human
Google’s enforcement of this new policy is a mix of automation and, surprisingly, human review. When developers upload an app to Google Play, they do so through the Google Play Developer console, which can automatically tell a lot about the makeup of the app. Part of this is knowing what permissions each app requests, and anything that asks for SMS or Call Log permissions is flagged for human approval. Developers then need to fill out a “Google Play Permissions Declaration Form” and explain exactly why they need the SMS or Call Log permission, at which point a real human will supposedly review the form and approve or deny the permission usage. Basically, SMS and phone apps will all need to be manually whitelisted from now on.
This kind of enforcement is definitely a new front in Google’s attempts to police the Android ecosystem. Previously, we would have expected a change to the way Android permissions work at the OS level, but instead—probably thanks to the nuance Google is looking for—this move is happening purely through Play Store policies. Of course, this means the rules only apply to apps in the Play Store and not pre-installed apps or apps downloaded outside of the Play Store. By our count, this is the second time Google has used Play Store rules to implement a major Android ecosystem change. Alongside the launch of Android 9 Pie late last year, the Play Store implemented minimum OS version requirements on app developers, forcing them to adapt to newer Android APIs with more privacy and security restrictions.
Doing actual human review on the Play Store seems very “un-Googley,” and I would guess this system won’t last forever. Google specifically calls the permission exceptions “temporary,” which suggests the company is working on more scoped APIs that cover more of the SMS and phone permission use cases that it currently has granted exceptions for.
Siri can be used to show information at the bottom of the screen, too. If you ask it a questions like, “Who won the Eagles game?” for example, Siri will show that the Eagles lost to the Saints, with the score and the logos of each team and a summary of the game.
If you ask the weather, Siri will show the current temperature and a logo representing the weather (like a cloud). But, oddly, Siri can’t answer some other things that it does on a phone, like how tall the Empire State Building is or how long it will take you to get to work.
Samsung will unveil at least four distinct Galaxy S10 versions soon, including three 4G models and a 5G phone. All of them will share the same Infinity-O punch-hole design on the front, as well as the same high-end processors. But they will have unique features, including different camera configurations, different RAM and storage options, as well as different battery capacities. The latter is a given, considering that we’re looking at least four different Galaxy S10 sizes, starting at 5.8 inches and going up to 6.7 inches — and this year, the size of the screen will almost match the size of the phone since the bezels are so small. And while we saw some exciting battery-related reports in the past, you won’t like the latest Galaxy S10 rumor.
But there was no reason to be worried about battery life. That’s because all Galaxy S10 phones will have more energy-efficient components than their predecessors. Not to mention that the Galaxy S10+’s 4,000 mAh battery will actually be bigger than the similarly-sized Galaxy Note 9, which packs a 3,500 mAh battery.
In other words, faster battery charging speeds may be enough to offset worries about battery sizes, since a charge of just 15 minutes would give you hours upon hours of usage. But now, a new revelation tells us the Galaxy S10 batteries will charge at the same speeds as the Galaxy S9 and Note 9.
The news comes from Nashville Chatter, which discovered that the Galaxy S10 phones have already been approved by China’s 3C body ahead of their release in the region. The documentation reveals that the phones will ship with EP-TA200 chargers that support 9V/1.67A and 5V/2V charging speeds, just like the Galaxy S9 and Note 9 phones before them.
That’s definitely not great news, assuming all this information is accurate, because other Samsung rivals have already launched products that can charge much faster. In theory, Samsung’s new phones could always support faster charging speeds that would require the purchase of an additional charger, just like the new iPhones. But that’s something only Samsung knows for the time being.